Not sure if anyone else was able to make it over to Harvard last night for Ferran Adria's appearance (let alone into the main room - a total mob scene), but it was pretty interesting. He spoke - with the help of a translator - for a couple of hours about El Bulli, his techniques, and 'molecular gastronomy' in general. His main topics of conversation were the use and creation of new textures, as well as the interplay between science and food. There were also extensive clips from his DVD library of El Bulli, its history, and demonstrations of many of his techniques and creations - quite stunning.
Some of the most interesting takeaways - he believes that a meal is a dialouge between the cook and the diner. As such, what he is creating is, in his mind, a new language - a new way to communicate and think about food. Some people are open to this new language, others are not. He was also, I would have to say, a bit defensive of his creations and his movement (for lack of a better word, and I think he would quibble with my choice). He rejects the term molecular gastronomy. His best argument - if you told many people you were making sea bass with sodium chloride, they would not remember their high school chem and think it was strange and new until you said, "It's sea bass with salt." For him, this is really all he's doing, just with compounds we don't except as every day.
Now, I'm still not sure where I stand on the food produced using Adria, Achatz, and Moto's new 'language,' but I have to say his creations are brilliant and the presentation was quite wonderful. It seems as if he and Harvard are forging a relationship to explore the interplay between science and food, so this was probably not his last visit. Judging from the need for two overfill simulcast rooms and police presence to keep order, probably not his last presentation either. If he does come back, I would recommend checking it out.
As a last note, he gave no tips on getting a res at El Bulli - you just need to be lucky. But he did seem genuinely sad about it.
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