El Bulli

El Bulli

cooking in progress

Streaming Video - 2011 | Catalan
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A revealing look inside the kitchen of renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adria. Located in Catalonia, Spain, Adria's restaurant-El Bulli-closes for six months each year while Adria and his team prepare a fresh, surprising menu for the next season. Not content just to offer the same menu, Adria's approach involves a scientific level of research and development to offer a variety of dishes that have never been experienced before.
Publisher: [United States] : Alive Mind : Made available through hoopla, 2011
Branch Call Number: STREAMING VIDEO
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 video file (ca. 108 min.)) : sd., col
Alternative Title: Cooking in progress


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 20, 2014

I love the way master chef Ferran Adrià displays his domineering side for the camera in this documentary. It makes me chuckle to think about how Adrià's former El Bulli employees won't have to tell stories about his temper and arrogance: they can just refer their friends to the film. However, rather than chronicling personalities, this film celebrates creativity. The lush pictures tell the story: brusque European chefs speaking Catalán, French and Spanish obsess their way through months in which their famed restaurant is closed so they can dedicate themselves to experimentation and recipe creation. I was blown away by the obsessiveness of their technique-concept cooking, which strives to present food in a pure form, while using a wide range of techniques to vary texture, flavor, color and plasticity, with end results that are like miniature, avant-garde sculptures. My eyebrows went up when I watched a chef float a thin layer of hazelnut oil on a new cocktail recipe, or shave ice flakes to garnish a sauce. Adrià, after dominating his profession during his tenure at now closed El Bulli, dreams of creating a foundation for creativity in high cuisine. It sounds like one of those dreams that are too beautiful to be realized, but I was enthralled enough to watch all the videos in the "where are we going?" section of elbulli.com. I'd recommend this documentary to anyone interested in the creative process, cooking, raw food, or in the setting of Catalonia, Spain.

Dec 28, 2013

A promising idea for a food documentary that sadly falls short.

What could have been a compelling story about one of the most famous restaurants in the world instead ended up as 108 minutes of insipid, awkwardly-paced monotony. Not a single minute of this film (which felt like it lasted 3 hours) was devoted to explaining the background of either the eponymous restaurant or its head chef Ferran Adrià.

Touted as a visionary for innovation in food science, Adrià does little more than taste-testing the results of his assistants' seemingly random combinations of ingredients, and looking vacant or uncomfortable at every turn.

In one scene, we see Adrià in a slight tantrum when he finds out that a sous chef's computer had crashed and that they would only have paper copies of their research results until the backup hard drive could be located. In another, he instructed his assistants to categorize their findings by star rating - even though none of the reports had been assigned any stars. Perhaps these moments were included to remind the viewer that Adrià is a "culinary savant" whose single-minded dedication to his craft, like many other creative titans, renders his temper and whims bizarre and highly volatile.

At the conclusion of the documentary, the viewer is left only with the feeling that El Bulli's food heralds science and innovation at the cost of what feels real. While there will always be room for groundbreaking techniques and applications of ingredients both familiar and new, Adrià's dishes look riveting and intricate but seem to lack a certain soul. During an orientation session with the new recruits, he even proudly proclaims that the theme of that season would be "water".

El Bulli's mission prior to its closure in 2012 was obviously to give its diners a completely unique experience, but one has to wonder whether that experience occurred in tandem with an actual meal. Perhaps the restaurant's inability to sustain itself as a financial venture speaks most to the fact that food science and innovation shouldn't come at the cost of a simple, satisfying meal.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at KCLS

To Top