El Bulli for you: restaurant sells its secrets to the masses

It would take El Bulli, the Spanish restaurant that is regularly voted the world's best, 125 years to get through its reservations backlog for this year alone. But for foodies desperate to sample its pioneering molecular gastronomy, help is at hand.

For its chef, Ferran Adria, has distilled his secrets into a new range of ingredients that could make horseradish foams as much a staple of British Sunday lunches as overcooked roast beef and soggy Yorkshire puddings.

An East Anglia-based company has become the first in the UK to sell a line of natural food derivatives created by Ferran Adria and his brother Albert. The range, which was cooked up in the El Bulli laboratory in Barcelona, is initially on sale to the catering trade and that means even mediocre pub chefs can emulate the brilliance of Mr Adria. With tins of ingredients with wacky names such as Lecite, Algin, Kappa and Metil, cooks can create sizzling fruit jellies, spaghettis for the gluten intolerant made of pureed vegetables and water, and the solid cocktails that are El Bulli's trademark.

John Jackaman, of Infusions, which has the British rights to the El Bulli line, said: "The undisputed best chef is giving up his secrets. The beauty is it is actually very simple to reproduce much of what to many of us is unattainable - tasting the food of El Bulli."

One popular recipe is melon caviar, made using melon juice, water, two of the powders - which have been given the brand name Texturas - and a process called spherification. "It looks like tins of golden caviar. It pops like caviar when you bite into it but has a fantastic melon flavour," Mr Jackaman, 34, said. Another is a lime air that "looks like shaving foam on a plate and can be used to refresh the palate between courses".

Foams are the hottest craze to sweep professional kitchens as chefs seek to emulate Mr Adria and his British counterpart and friend Heston Blumenthal, whose Fat Duck restaurant vies with El Bulli for the top spot in the global culinary charts. Mr Blumenthal's latest menu features an oyster foam meant to represent "the mist above the waves". Proponents include Nuno Mendes, who runs the Bacchus restaurant in Hoxton, north London and Tony Flinn, of Anthony's Restaurant in Leeds. Mr Flinn's top dish is a white onion risotto with a parmesan air. "There's nothing better than finding something new to play with because without new ingredients to create new dishes you are just doing new versions of old ones," he said.

Mr Blumenthal aside, the "cappuccino" toppings made using carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are failing to curry favour with many food critics, who are unimpressed by "chemistry" cookery. A A Gill warned recently that too many restaurants were choosing froth over substance.

Amateur chefs need have no such qualms, however, and this Christmas they too may get the chance to whip up some culinary alchemy. Mr Jackaman has plans to launch a Texturas gift pack, which he hopes Harrods and Fortnum & Mason will stock. The Texturas range is the closest Mr Adria has come to sharing the DNA of his dishes, which have more than a million people every year clamouring for one of the 50 seats in his restaurant in north-east Spain. El Bulli is open for six months a year and is booked up through 2008.

Although there are a number of El Bulli recipe books, Mr Adria has always stopped short of divulging his full techniques.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?