It was, arguably, the most famous restaurant in the world and perhaps one of the most significant and influential ever: the legendary 'el Bulli' in Catalonia, which closed in 2011, attained a near-mythic reputation for culinary wizardry. But what actually went on behind the scenes? What was the daily reality of life in the world's greatest kitchen?
The Sorcerer's Apprenticestells first-hand the story of a young chef enrolled in the restaurant's legendary training course. It shows her struggle to adapt, how she and the other apprentices learned to push themselves and the limits of their abilities, how they adjusted to a style of cooking that was creative in the extreme and how they dealt with the pressures of performing at the highest level night after night.
In past years stagiares have clashed with the severe demeanour of Oriol Castro, the restaurant's chef de cuisine; others have gone on to work at the restaurant. One was sent home each year, unable to fit into the high-wire act that is the el Bulli kitchen.
Complicating things even more, the stagiares lived together in shared apartments, so the events and emotions of their personal lives bled more than usual into the professional. The Sorcerer's Apprenticestells these smaller, more human stories as well.
At its heart, The Sorcerer's Apprenticesis a quest: it tells the tale of a handful of aspiring young people who submitted themselves to a grueling challenge in order to be made better by it. It also offers an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at the most famous restaurant in the world, through the lens of those who, ultimately, made it work.
"Abend is finding qualities in each young cook that reflect, amplify, and illuminate who Adrià is and what he's doing at elBulli--crossing and even demolishing the lines between food and art. Anyone interested in the very vanguard of creativity in any medium, aside from the ever-growing ranks of foodies and celebrity-chef watchers, is certain to be enchanted." --"Booklist", starred review
"Part Dali, part Einstein, part modern-day Escoffier--superchef Ferran Adrià of elBulli is one of the greatest creative minds of our time. Now Lisa Abend reveals what it's like to actually work in this genius's kitchen. Her formidable reportage, astute cultural observations, and keen eye for detail have produced a fascinating chronicle of the life-changing adventure undertaken by elBulli's lucky band of kitchen apprentices."
--Anya von Bremzen, author of "The New Spanish Table""The author provides countless descriptions of an undeniably dazzling creative process and of foods that, even on paper, have the power to delight and amuse.
A gastronomical feast and a rare chance for gourmet enthusiasts to witness the creative process behind some of the world's most innovative cuisine." --"Kirkus""Lisa Abend's new book reads like Harry Potteresque version of a cook's story and gives readers the chance to enter themselves into the hidden world of cooks. Through Lisa's book, readers can join these young people on their quest to become a chef witnessing the dreams and aspirations, the frustrations and successes, and all the drama that unfolds along the way."
-- José Andrés, Chef of Cafe Atlantico and The Bazaar, and star of the PBS show "Made in Spain"""The Sorcerer's Apprentices" is a fascinating, well-reported, and dramatic account of life behind the lines at the world's most renowned restaurant, elBulli. Unimpeded by the language barrier that has prevented English-speaking journalists from conveying a full, clear picture of Ferran Adrià, Abend gives a sense of what his extraordinary, ground-breaking kitchen is actually like on the inside, from the vantage of the cooks. This is a worthy addition to the literature of the professional kitchen and a pleasure to read."
--Michael Ruhlman, author of "Ratio" and"""The Making of a Chef ""An insightful depiction not only of the most talked-about restaurant in the worl