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About Town: Getting in on “Talk & Taste” with Ferran Adrià

Pastry chef Diane Yang (second from left) surrounded by her Spoon and Stable team.

October was brimming with great food events, but the chance to meet and hear—and even get a hug—from internationally renowned Chef Ferran Adrià was over the top. Dubbed the “Salvador Dalì” of the kitchen, Adrià is considered one of the world’s top trend setting innovative chefs.

The stage was set October 9 in the packed Pillsbury Auditorium of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, with all eager to see the man himself. I had heard many stories about Adrià since the ‘90s when I worked with Chef Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit. Samuelsson used some of what he learned with the then wild, fancy foams and jelled liquids, and was thrilled to have met Adrià at his El Bulli restaurant outside of Barcelona back in the day.

For this Minneapolis stopover, a special evening of “Talk & Taste” was the theme under the banner “Notes on Creativity,” with our own Andrew Zimmern as emcee. We listened as an interpreter translated the questions in the discussion with Adrià (who only spoke in Spanish) about his unique and bizarre, creative and scientific uses of food.

After the discussion we were all invited to the reception hall, where more than 20 local chefs offered super sexy samples of unusual fare inspired by Adrià’s style of cooking. 

We tried fun bites of I don't know what, from fluffy to crunchy to melt-in-your-mouth bits and pieces—bizarre indeed. There were puffs and pillows, gels and liquids; both hot and cold and frozen as well. Wild!


A Little More History on Ferran Adrià and El Bulli

During its heyday beginning in the 1990s, El Bulli was only open for about six months out of the year, from mid-June to mid-December. Adrià spent the remaining six months perfecting recipes in the workshop “elBulliTaller” in Barcelona.

The restaurant closed on July 30, 2011, and reopened as a creativity center in 2014.

During its time El Bulli had three Michelin stars and was one of the best restaurants in the world. It received first place in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2002. Then in 2005 it ranked second. It was again awarded = first place in 2006, and retained this title in 2007, 2008 and 2009, making a record five times in the top spot. In 2010, after El Bulli announced it would close for good the next season, the title was awarded to Noma of Copenhagen, Denmark.

You can still see Adrià’s “Notes on Creativity” exhibit at The Minneapolis Institute of Art through January 3, 2016. The traveling art show is the first major museum exhibition to focus on the visualization and drawing practices of Adrià. Organized by The Drawing Center in New York, the exhibit emphasizes the role of drawing in Adrià’s quest for new gustatory experiences.

Chef Ferran Adrià Chef Ferran Adrià on the stage at The Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Jim Christiansen

Jim Christiansen (left), chef and owner of Heyday, with his pastry chef Jo Garrison.

pastry chefs Salty Tart chef/owner Michelle Gayer and her team (left) and La Belle Vie pastry chef Niki Francioli getting a hug and lots of help from Chef Sameh Wadi of Saffron and Tara Waller from LBV.
Becker and Klein Chef Isaac Becker (left) of 112 Eatery, Bar La Grassa and Burch offers a tasty treat from his team. At right, Chef Russell Klein of Meritage and Brasserie Zentral preps a cold fish bite with his assistant.


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