“El Bulli: Cooking In Progress”

Just wanted to make this quick post about the 2-hour documentary by Gereon Wetzel that I  saw this week.

“El Bulli: Cooking in Progress” is beginning to screen in theatres here in the US and the critics are somewhat tepid about it.  I loved the film and just wanted to note that the director, in this work, has found creative synchronicity with El Bulli, the restaurant.  For me the film successfully and powerfully shows what it’s like to make a serious, personal creative decision.  With no narrative (some critics wanted a voice-over to explain what we are seeing) and no interviews (some think that it is only in  the speaking that the idea is clear), the film gets inside the interactions of chefs, their desires, their personal relationships, the unspoken behaviors that lead to:  the making of a dish and with it the desire to express something new and meaningful.  The film is itself a work of art and the style mimics the style of the El Bulli cuisine which privileges discovery.  This is an example of the relationship of media to food that goes beyond media being a conduit for showing food.  There is an interaction of art forms.

Variety explains well the general US reaction so far, I think: ” the pic doesn’t have the narrative drive or emotional appeal of a
documentary like D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’ “Kings of Pastry,”
but still will serve as a tasty item for fests on its way to broadcast.

I hope that you will see it if and when it shows at your hometown.  I think you’ll see synchronicity of film and food.

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2 thoughts on ““El Bulli: Cooking In Progress””

  • Hi, Sam. Yes, it was great to meet you in Lubbock. Thanks for asking about the Carne Con Chile accompaniments. The beans are boiled with onion and garlic and bacon, recipe here (Leave OUT the beer and the vegetables and cilantro at the end):https://adansblog.com/frijoles-borrachos-frijoles-charros-drunken-beans-charro-beans/. The potatoes are a nice twist that was concocted when I was in the kitchen, by Chef John Ventura who is the Chef at Texas Tech University Top Tier Catering. It’s potatoes puréed with a bit of shredded cheddar cheese and a bit of puréed roasted green chiles, either Poblano or Anaheim. It is the puréed version (leave out onions) of my “Papas Con Rajas” here: https://adansblog.com/poblano-chile-potatoes-papas-con-rajas/ If you’d like to use Anaheim, here’s how to roast and peel them: https://adansblog.com/roasted-anaheim-corn-tortillas-tacos/

    You don’t want to overly mash the potatoes because they will become pasty.
    Hope this helps. Please let me know how your dinner turns out.

  • Adan – I met you at the book festival in Lubbock, where I was also a speaker. We are going to try to cook the carne con chile that you demonstrated. But I was wondering what the vegetable dish was that you served with the chile at lunch. It seemed the perfect accompaniment!
    Sam Gwynne

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