How does one become known as the most wildly inventive chef at what is often regarded as the best restaurant in the world? As the new book "A Day at elBulli" from Phaidon reveals, raw talent only takes you so far. The rest is planning, planning and more planning. No one understands that better perhaps than Ferran Adrià, whose attitude is that "ambition without patience is a dangerous thing."
With what seems to be more methods and secrets than the CIA, chef Ferran Adrià is renowned for holing up in his hidden workshop for six months of research into new techniques and concepts he'll showcase the latter half of the year for the lucky 8,000 people who receive a reservation out of the two million requests to dine at elBulli in Spain's Costa Brava region. For those who never hit the gastronomic lottery, "A Day at elBulli" gives you an in-depth look at what you're missing with a play-by-play analysis of the chef and restaurant's daily activities. The routine includes everything from scientific experiments, like cooking with liquid nitrogen, to the more mundane, such as raking the gravel.
Much like the organizational systems in place at elBulli, the book itself is a meticulous and beautiful undertaking full of explanatory inserts, glossy pictures and best of all — recipes. You might want to invest in a Bunsen burner and some syringes before you attempt to recreate some of the dishes, as cooking elBulli-style often requires one part creativity and two parts chemistry.
We wish we could send you there but we can at least offer a copy of the book to a lucky CH reader. All you have to do is tell us why you deserve it. Go to the bottom of the page, click on Contact and select "A Day at elBulli Giveaway" from the drop-down menu. We'll pick a winner from entries received before 11:59 EST on 17 October 2008.
Also on Cool Hunting: Hervé This