El Bulli

November 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Posted in 2012 | Leave a comment
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DVD.  This odd little documentary is clouded by an air of self-importance that is not wholly justified.  We spend one year with famed Spanish chef, Ferran Adrià, and his crew of chefs as they prepare for and execute the next year’s menu.  His restaurant, El Bulli, was considered the best restaurant in the world for many years until it closed it’s doors in 2011.  Adrià must have been aware of this impending closure, which he did entirely of his own volition because he had grown bored with the restaurant, at the time the documentary was made, yet there is no reference to it in the film.  Instead, the film focuses on the 6-months that El Bulli was closed each year (with over a million reservation requests a year, you’d think he might stay open a bit more) so that the chefs could develop their new menu.  We follow them as they tinker like scientists figuring out what to pair with what, all desperate to please the distant and scornful Adrià.  I had thought it would be interesting to see them develop the startling creations they are famous for; it was not.  The whole film had an air of scientific detachment better suited to the discovery of an acne cure than the creation of a meal.  And, true to that, I had little to no idea what dishes they were making.  In the last moments of the film, when they showed us the final courses, I thought, “oh, so that’s where those ingredients were going?” or “I didn’t even see them work on that?”  The whole process had been so technical and disjointed that it never felt connected to the final meal.  And, in what felt like the deconstructed cherry on top, we never even got to see anyone eating or commenting on the meals.  Rather than a transcendent film about the love of great food (like “Hiro Loves Sushi” was), I vaguely felt like I was back in 9th grade science class, wondering if this was going to be on the test.

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