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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

Engineering Design Manager (Mechanical)

£35000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: ENGINEERING ...

SSIS Developer Required - Leading Media Company

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A world leading media organisation is cu...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz