"Soul-searching" chef Ferran Adria looks to Asia

Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:33am EDT
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By Cathy Yang

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Ground-breaking chef Ferran Adria is on a quest to find the soul of Asian cooking, which could perhaps provide key hints for future gastronomic inventions from the man who brought the world culinary foam.

Considered the world's best chef by several critics, Adria and his El Bulli restaurant became synonymous with a transformation of traditional dishes into fun and funky culinary adventures.

But, pleading a need for transformation, he last month shut the restaurant down -- at least in its current incarnation. It will re-open in 2014 as the El Bulli Foundation.

"I don't know much about Asia, and Asia could be an archive of ideas," Adria told Reuters in Hong Kong, on the sidelines of a trip promoting Spanish food, after a visit to Beijing and Shanghai.

"The gastronomical culture of China is very, very important. Simply to just get to know all the products that exist in China but not exist in the West would take months."

Roughly 15 trips to Japan have helped him understand the country and its cuisine a little, but this has merely whetted his appetite for learning about the rest of the continent.

"I've looked at the soul of the cooking and the reason of things (in Japan) and then I started looking at cooking techniques. But I haven't got to that point for the rest of Asia yet," he added.

At this stage he said his visit had almost sparked more questions than answers.   Continued...

<p>Black sesame sponge cake with red miso prepared by a team of chefs led by chef Paco Roncero, protege of chef Ferran Adria, is seen at an event hosted by the Spanish Tourism Board at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Hong Kong August 25, 2011. REUTERS/Andy Ho</p>