Curious Bites

'The Family Meal' Cookbook by Ferran Adrià

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'The Family Meal' Cookbook by Ferran Adrià

Who fancies a bit of molecular cuisine on a Tuesday night? Think your children would enjoy vegetables if they were in the form of foam? All kidding aside, Ferran Adrià the chef of elBullì (which closed this past July) has hardly been idle.

This coming October, his fans and followers will be treated to his latest cookbook, whose theme and scope may surprise some: The Family Meal: Home Cooking With Ferran Adrià. Of course, Adrià’s idea of what constitutes home cooking is distinctly his own (don’t expect macaroni and cheese), and a chef that has run the world’s top-rated restaurant for years spends, of course, most of his time, not cooking for his “real” family, but for his “work” family, a kitchen and serving staff of around 80. In fact, the recipes in this book are those that he invented and executed when cooking what is known in the restaurant business as “Staff Meals”.

Just about every restaurant of any size offers a meal for its serving staff, although this is more of a tradition than a strict law. And despite what we may assume, even at the most gourmet establishments, these staff dinners are often ... mediocre at best. Adrià, a few years ago, decided to do something about this discrepancy. In an encounter with Mark Bittiman of The New York Times Adrià explained: «Usually in a restaurant you always know what your clients are going to eat, but you never know what the staff is going to eat.» So, three years ago, Adrià teamed with Eugeni de Diego, a member of his core team, to rethink what the staff ate before the lucky clients of elBullì came through the doors. «We decided - he said - to use the same organization for the staff meals as the one we use for clients, and we began planning them a month in advance.»

It was Adrià’s idea that all of these meals could be prepared by 2 staff members in less than an hour, so the common home chef may find that the book is more for “special” home dinners rather than what to serve on a rainy Tuesday night. But for fine dining lovers, this is one volume that everyone should have on their shelves.

The Family Meal: Home Cooking With Ferran Adrià
By Ferran Adrià
Published by Phaidon

Publication date is October 2011: to order the book clic here

Photo courtesy Phaidon

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