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The Sorcerer's Apprentices

A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià's elBulli

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.



Elected best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine an unprecedented five times, elBulli is where chef Ferran Adrià’s remarkable cuisine comes to life—with dragon cocktails that make the drinker breathe smoke and caviar made from tiny spheres of olive oil. elBulli is also the object of culinary pilgrimage—millions clamor every year for a reservation at one of its tables.

Yet few people know that, behind each of the thirtyor more courses that make up a meal at elBulli, a small army of stagiaires—apprentice chefs—labor at the precise, exhausting work of executing Adrià’s astonishing vision. In The Sorcerer’s Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchenat Ferran Adrià’s elBulli, Lisa Abend explores the remarkable system that Adrià uses to run his restaurant and, in the process, train the next generation of culinary stars.

Granted more access to Adrià and the elBulli kitchen than any other writer in the restaurant’s history, Abend follows thirty-five young men and women as they struggle to master the cutting-edge techniques, grueling hours, furious creativity, and interpersonal tensions that come with working at this celebrated institution. Her lively narrative captures a great cast, including a young Korean cook who camps on the doorstep of elBulli until he is allowed to work in the kitchen; an ambitious chef from one of Switzerland’s top restaurants struggling to create his own artistic vision of cuisine; and an American couple whose relationship may not withstand the unique pressures of the restaurant. What emerges is an irresistible tale of aspiring young talents caught, for good or ill, in the opportunity of a lifetime.

Taken together, their stories form a portrait of the international team that helps make a meal at elBulli so memorable. They also reveal a Ferran Adrià few ever see, one who is not only a genius chef and artist but also a boss, teacher, taskmaster, businessman, and sometimes- flawed human being. Today, food has become the focus of unprecedented attention, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentices also explores the strange evolution—in less than two decades—of a once-maligned profession into a source of celebrity.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 31, 2011 – For years, chef Adri 's creative and enigmatic culinary genius at his restaurant el Bulli drew not only the attention of the world's top chefs and food critics but also of aspiring culinary artists looking to apprentice there. Food writer Colman Andrews has recently written a biography of Adri (Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food), and now New York Time's Spain correspondent Abend offers an intimate glimpse of life as a stagiaire a cook who agrees to work for almost nothing for a season as one of Adri 's apprentices. Weaving the history of the restaurant and Adri 's own story with the threads of the 35 stagiaires who apprenticed at el Bulli from June to December 2009, she captures the intense desire to learn and to please, the demanding pace of the work, and the anxiety over success and failure that drives these young chefs. Some of the stagiaires, unwilling to submit to the ego-crunching drudgery of the work, leave early in the season; others, worried constantly about living up to the demands of the position, settle into a rhythm that carries them through the mundane details of preparing meals and propels them to a new level of culinary skill and inventiveness. Abend's sometimes lively, often plodding narrative provides another dimension to the culinary legend that is el Bulli.

Customer Reviews

Where's the Magic?

How could a book about the supposed most innovative, modern and influential restaurant in the world be so absolutely and unequivocally BORING?!?!?!?!!!!!!! Read this book and quickly find out. Can I get a refund on this purchase?

The Sorcerer's Apprentices
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Cookbooks, Food & Wine
  • Published: Mar 22, 2011
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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