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Our Iconic Dishes series takes a look at different chefs and the dishes, styles and techniques they have presented to the world with their creative cooking. We’ve looked at the likes of Heston Blumenthal who revolutionized the UK dining scene with his creations at The Fat Duck and we’ve highlighted the works of other great chefs such as Massimo Bottura and Grant Achatz.
The next chef in the Iconic Dishes series is Andoni Luis Aduriz from the Mugaritz restaurant in Spain. Aduriz is known for hyper-creativity, for pushing boundaries and for challenging the idea of what a tasting menu should look like, even challenging the idea of what food actually is. Mugaritz works on a philosophy: you don’t have to like something to like it, and this is shown again and again in their truly contemporary food that leaves you thinking for years after a meal.
To achieve this type of innovation, the restaurant famously closes for half of the year, every year, so the team can go into heavy R&D and develop an entirely new menu, they have created hundreds of dishes.
With all this in mind, we wanted to highlight just some of the chef’s iconic dishes, ones that stand out to show just how far the boundaries can be pushed.
"When you go to culinary school," Aduriz told the Guardian, "you are taught food must be pleasing, but when you get to Mugaritz, you realise that sometimes you need to be disturbed, to be shocked."
One of the dishes that best exemplifies this philosophy is Edible Stone, a potato covered in clay. We’ve all seen the idea of edible rocks on menus but at the time this was original and the hard clay was disconcerting for that first crunch.
“One of my favourite dishes is our 'edible stones'. It looks like a stone, feels like a stone, your brain is telling you you will lose teeth if you eat it. But it melts away in your mouth. A poetry, a magical equilibrium of texture and temperature is achieved with a single potato.”
A dish of rancidity, of oxidized wine that hits you hard, surrounding a fluffy, cute, sweet, Marshmallow Michelin Man. This one is hard, very few palates appreciate the hit of rancid that comes with the oxidized sauce, but is that the point? Are you supposed to see this cute, fluffy marshmallow only to realize a bite of Michelin can often be bitter sweet swallow? We told you, it’s food to think about.
The web went crazy recently for the smoked watermelon being cut and served like meat, well, Andoni did it first. He worked on a process to create vegetable carpaccio using watermelon. Taking this a step further, as is often the case with Andoni, he then collaborated with world class musicians to produce a sound track that matched the food.
Here’s a clip that shows how the vocals of the countertenor were used to represent the dish.
Broken Egg, Cool Yolk and White Flowers
In his Mugaritz book, Aduriz explains that his broken egg dish was a concept that was worked on for five years before it was finished. The dish is comprised of an edible egg shell, made with sugar, and filled with all manner of goodness. Watching them close and sand the holes on the eggs is a true glimpse of the dedication and man hours that goes into food at Mugaritz.
The egg is served alongside salt-cured yolk, watch the video to see it being prepared.
Wild Game Macaron
We’ve seen meat macarons on many menus in recent years but as with lots of stuff, Andoni did it first, rocking in with a blood macarons, a dish that came with its own trailer.
Developed in 2017, Noble Rot emulated the famous ‘Noble Rot’ of wine by purposefully infesting apple with two types of fungi and letting guests digest the unique results.
A medium sizes garlic head, slowly glazed inside sticky, fatty lamb juices. Served with a simple slice of toasted bread.