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Mugaritz: A Book and Documentary

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Mugaritz: A Book and Documentary
Photo By Per-Anders Jorgensen

Hot off being nominated the third best restaurant in the world, Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz - from the Mugaritz restaurant in Spain - is set to release a new documentary and book in the same month.

The Documentary, Mugaritz B.S.O, will premiere tomorrow in America and documents a music and gastronomy collaboration between chef Aduriz and the music composer Felipe Ugarte. It focuses on their project to write a score of music to reflect, match and help to add context to some of Mugaritz's food. It also works the other way with food complimenting the music in many of the scores - a truly interesting concept and one that focuses on the relationship between music and food and how the two can be paired with fascinating results.

Always working on more than one project, Aduriz will also release his new book this month titled Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking. The book is a look at the history of the restaurant, some of their most famous dishes and more importantly a look at the restaurants link to Basque cuisine, history and their daily efforts to express this to the world through food.  

With pictures of Adoni, shot by the world famous photographer Per-Anders Jorgensen, the often intense moments that can happen in a kitchen between chef and staff, and the raw emotions usually only felt by being in a restaurant, are somehow captured in bold, unassuming and truthful black and white shots.

Per-Anders, the photographer of all the still life shots in the book, told Fine Dining Lovers how difficult it was to work on such an important project: "When you see genius as a photographer you want to follow it, but shooting the book was very hard. You want to do them justice - even more than justice - and sometimes that can be tough but it's rewarding of course lots of fun to work with the Mugaritz creative team.

"To understand Mugaritz you have to understand how rooted they are in Basque cuisine, to have an appreciation of this you really have to have some prior knowledge. I've been eating at Mugaritz for years now and after about three years of me and my wife being bowled over by their food and them being bowled over by these Northern Europeans constantly coming back to their restaurant, we built a very strong relationship, so when the offer to do the book came up I was very happy to be asked. Me and my wife fell so in love with the place we eventually decided to get married there".

Andoni looked at me very seriously and said 'you haven't eaten go upstairs now!'

He describes Mugaritz as a humbling place with every team member firmly focused on their tasks and a shared goal of doing a great job together. The book sets out to show some of this and present the history and significance of this small restaurant in San Sebastián, which is now visited by food lovers from all over the world. On top of personality and the rich history of Mugaritz, the book documents a number of the chef's most famous dishes and the process involved in creating them, around 70 recipes made the final print.

It's the first time a book like this has been released about the restaurant in English and will be published by Phaidon, the team behind Rene Redzepi's NOMA book. It's a great addition to any food library - especially if the world of basque cuisine is something that  interests you.

It took weeks of shooting and for Per-Anders it was a project that started years ago when him and his wife first visited Mugaritz. The hard work from everyone involved is evident on the pages and Per-Anders revealed, that at least for him, it was a project that led to some unforgetable moments: "The standout memory was one evening while working - in Spain you are constantly invited to eat things and despite working they want you to eat. One evening it was quite late I was in the kitchen working and Andoni looked at me very  seriously and said 'you haven't eaten, go upstairs now.'

"So we were siting in a small office with this simple white table and cutlery, dishes and wine began to appear. This was quite unique and to add to it chefs, waiters, sommeliers kept appearing to come and explain the dishes - of course this style of eating was very different to the dining room experience. I think in this way you can really concentrate on the food in a different way. In a small room were these people appear it's just fantastic."

The Book, Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking, is released on the 27th of May.


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