Two Good Reads

I'm in the middle of reading two really good books.The first one is, A Day at elBulli, An insight into the ideas, methods and creativity of Ferran Adria.

The second book is Eric Ripert's, On The Line, Inside the world of Le Bernardin.

Both of these books have two things in common. They chronicle a day in the life of the employees at their restaurants, and they both talk about their creative methods in developing new ideas.

A Day at elBulli is a quick read with a lot of pictures, it’s over 500 pages and I've read through 325 pages in one night. Ferran Adria presents several different ideas and methods staring with 8 Stages of developing a dish., and then progressing on to Creative Methods I, Creative Methods II and Creative Methods III.

In Method I, Adria explains four approaches; traditional and local cuisines, influences from other cuisines, technique-concept search, and techniques and concepts applied to food.

In Method II he explains creating by; association, inspiration, adaptation, deconstruction, minimalism, changes to the structure of the menu, and the search for new ingredients.

Method III dives into; the senses as a starting point, the sixth sense, symbiosis of the sweet and savoury worlds, commercial food in high-end cuisine, new ways of serving food, and changing the structure of dishes.

elBulli is closed for six months and the book does a great job explaining how this time is spent developing new dishes for the next year.

On The Line walks you through the different jobs at Le Bernardin, both in the kitchen and FOH. There’s ingredient lists of what's in the pantry and walk-ins, lists of what every cooks needs. Ripert does a great job illustrating the timelines for the arrival, preparation and the final path of the food.

There’s a chapter, The Birth Of A New Dish, that walks through the creative process and who’s involved. It examples two dishes with the actual notes of the give-and-take commentary that goes back and forth to refine the dish.

Also interesting is a FOH piece that list 129 “Cardinal Sins” to be avoided by the service staff.

Both books are a must read if you’d like to get inside the creative minds of these two chefs.