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Ferran Adria launches Chinese edition of his food bible

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2015-10-23 08:15

Ferran Adria launches Chinese edition of his food bible

Ferran Adria, well-known Spanish chef.[Photo provided to China Daily]

His fabled restaurant El Bulli has been shut since 2011, but Ferran Adria continues to be a creative spark in the culinary world. This week, the chef routinely lauded as among the world's greatest has brought his revolutionary ideas about cuisine to China, with a Chinese-language edition of his seven-volume magnum opus, El Bulli 2005-2011.

Adria is no stranger to China, making his first foray into the country's kitchens in 2001. He returned just weeks after closing El Bulli, expressing his eagerness to pursue his exploration of traditional cuisine here and perhaps establish an outpost of his foundation here.

"In China, every dish has a story," the Spaniard told China Daily in 2011. "The Chinese also see a relationship between food and health. That's very interesting."

Often described as a "godfather of molecular cuisine", Adria disputes the label, preferring to call his conversion of vegetables to foam, for example, "deconstructivist". He says that means "taking a dish that is well-known and transforming all its ingredients, or a part of them, then modifying the dish's texture, form and/or its temperature. Deconstructed, such a dish will preserve its essence ... but its appearance will be radically different from the original's."

The goal, he says, is to provide unexpected contrasts of flavor, temperature and texture: "Nothing is what it seems. The idea is to provoke, surprise and delight the diner."

On his 2011 trip to China, he told the Wall Street Journal: "In these nine years I've see an important evolution, especially in Shanghai and Beijing. Above all, I believe there is a spirit of questioning things, wanted to evolve, and that makes it alive. Chinese cuisine is very alive."

Adria himself immediately set about questioning things, he says: "Why for centuries haven't they used dairy products? Why are dishes placed in the middle? Where does the imperial cuisine come from? Why are most vegetables cooked al dente - not for too long? That is very avant-garde ..."

Whatever inspiration has come from his bromance with Chinese food, the Chinese edition of his master work may be his way of giving something back to chefs and gastronomes in China.

Adria, along with his culinary and publishing team, met media and food professionals at Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Beijing on Monday before making similar book-launch appearances in Shanghai on Tuesday and Shenzhen on Wednesday.

The hardback set, priced at 4,580 yuan ($716), features 1,400 color photographs and illustrations over 2,720 pages. Published by Artron, the Chinese edition is a translation of the original 2014 title by Phaidon Press.

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