I just got through watching this DVD and have to say it's terrific - I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Ferran Adria and El Bulli - and everything that implies.
It's done by Tony Bourdain, and he's at his best here - not at all smarmy, but clearly a traditional bistro chef that starts out very skeptical.
But he warms up to Adria right away as he starts the journey in a Jambon Iberico specialty shop - where the owner gets into detail on the various hams. Adria's point is that this is transformation - from pig to ham - and for all his application of science and new, unheard of techniques, that's what they do - transform the food.
The next segment is in the lab - where several examples of their work are shown and explained. They take a peach and prepare it to look and feel like pan-fried foie gras, but of course, it tastes like a peach. They show several other techniques and showcase their own designer who has come on board to make serviceware appropriate to the new foods that come out of their kitchen.
The next is a course by course analysis at El Bulli, followed by a wonderful segment at Adrian's favorite traditional seafood place in town (near Barcelona).
From the carrot foam, to the skinless green pea ravioli, the fine cotton candy on a whole fish bone, the apple caviar, and on and on... just incredible essences of food and flavor with new textures and unexpected combinations. As Tony said, it's anti-fusion - it's individual taste and smell recombined in ways that are absolutely brand new. (At one point, a rosemary twig is held under the nose while an item is eaten - the smell is enough to provide the desired effect while the rosemary flavor doesn't totally overwhelm the food.)
Tony really does this piece justice, and although I'm a fan, I'd say to his detractors that they should give this a go - it's very informative and fun to watch.
So, when is smell-a-vision coming?
I couldn't find this on Netflix, so I ended up buying it. I'm just as happy - I would have bought it sooner or later anyway. Here's the link to Amazon:
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