Travel show sits down to staff meal at El Bulli

By the time Anthony Bourdain's popular travel show No Reservations airs its final tribute piece to famed restaurant El Bulli, the dining room, which has become a gastronomical legend, will have served its final meal and shuttered its doors.

The Michelin-starred, Catalan restaurant has topped the World's 50 Best restaurant list five times and received two million reservation requests a year - it seats about 8,000 per year.

In addition to being put on the line to cook, Bourdain gives viewers a look into the daily life of the El Bulli kitchen, including their staff meals.

Whereas in most restaurants, staff meals are nothing more than "an afterthought," El Bulli chef and father of molecular gastronomy Ferran Adrià commissions members of his kitchen staff to prepare full meals for everyone, Bourdain recounts. In this episode, staff are treated to fresh pasta and charred, grilled peppers with battered, deep fried fish on crusty bread.

Bourdain also sits down to a full El Bulli meal with Adrià and another celebrity chef José Andrés, who got his own culinary start in the El Bulli kitchen as a young protégé.

Together, they tuck into soy matchsticks, Nori patties, and a savory tiramisu à la Japonaise that makes even Adrià guffaw with laughter and marvel at his own genius.

"Orgasmic," Andrés says as all three emit guttural sounds of satisfaction.

While Adrià is Spain's most famous chef, Andrés is considered the Spanish ambassador to the US, as he imported the principles of molecular gastronomy when he immigrated.

Andrés also seems to be following loosely in El Bulli's footsteps, as he too shuttered his flagship restaurant minibar in Washington DC and turned it into a 'pop-up' restaurant America Eats Tavern, inspired by the country's culinary history. The venture is in partnership with the National Archives.

Meanwhile, a documentary on the restaurant, El Bulli: Cooking in Progress made its North American debut July 27. The movie was directed by German filmmaker Gereon Wetzel. It will be released globally in September.

The El Bulli episode on No Reservations airs August 1 on The Travel Channel at 9 pm ET.

 

 

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