“In the way, I thought…It’s even like Shakespeare. Shakespeare changed English. He wasn´t just a great writer of English, he was increasing the vocabulary. And these words that Shakespeare was introducing into the language were creating what has become the language that we all know now. And I think that Ferran has something of this quality. But not only does Ferran has to increase the vocabulary, he has to find a syntax. It´s a grammar that he´s inventing, the sequencing of these words that he is inventing. I am a great admirer” Richard Hamilton
Walking into the exhibition, I feel at home. Amongst the sound of a busy kitchen, I could distinguish a few words in Catalan and the combination of landscapes projected on the wall start awaking my senses. For a moment I had a glimpse I was in the small picturesque bay on the Catalan coast near Roses, where the restaurant was located for over 50 years. For those of you who didn´t have the opportunity of enjoying the culinary art of creative mastermind Ferran Adrià, Somerset House has well curated a retrospective exhibition, showcasing the art of cuisine and cuisine as art by taking an in-depth behind the scenes look at the restaurant he built to become the world’s best, ‘El Bulli’.
In the background, an emotive short video representing the presentation of the last dish served at ‘El Bulli’, set the scene to introduce you to Ferran Adrià’s family; a team of great cooks that next to the mastermind, brought the name of my little country to the highest positions in cooking; becoming a referent by changing the way fine cuisine was conceived.
In the words of artist Richard Hamilton, he changed “the language of food”. ‘El Bulli’ created new cooking concepts and developed 1,846 original dishes that went beyond taste sensations and merged cuisine with conceptual art. “If we create deconstruction, we can create lots of deconstructed dishes”, explains the chef in a multimedia display.
As soon as I arrived it looked like I was entering to the restaurant: “dinner for two please?” The table was already set and I could actually sit down, look at the multimedia dishes projected and imagine the amazing taste, with a bit of frustration, I have to say…
To the left, a pictorial representation of all the dishes shined, transforming a saturated black wall into a piece of art. Shades of bright colours brought all the flavours and textures to mind, increasing the grade of frustration as lunchtime was arriving.
Leaving the exhibition I felt inspired. ‘El Bulli’ lead a culinary revolution that inspired and influenced a new generation of chefs like René Redzepi, Joan Roca, Andoni Aduriz, Massimo Bottura and Grant Achatz. And with my humble opinion I can just say that, indeed it set the tone for a whole new melody.
By Laura Roig Vericat