The Art of Gastronomy: Ferran Adrià’s Sketches at the Drawing Center in Soho

Mushrooms and bananas, by Ferran Adria.
Mushrooms and bananas.

Ferran Adrià, the 51-year-old head chef of the now-closed El Bulli restaurant in Spain, approaches cooking as a scientist would approach a series of experiments. His kitchen is a lab where he analyzes and deconstructs flavors, serving them in mystifying and unconventional forms such as dirty martini spray, popcorn clouds that shrink dramatically when you touch them, spices in the form of pills, and ravioli that disappears before your eyes.

Though Adrià works with siphons, syringes and other tools that aren’t usually found in the kitchen, his experimental process always begins with the simplest exercise: drawing. Three years after the culinary dreamer closed El Bulli to start a foundation that pursues his innovative culinary techniques, the public can once again appreciate Adrià’s artistry—this time by visiting the Drawing Center in Soho.

For the exhibition, curators culled dozens of sketches, diagrams, and notes from Adrià’s collection of hundreds of notebooks and loose drawings. The result is an impressive and enlightening commentary of his innovative thought process, boundless creativity, and unswerving devotion to food.

“Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity” is on view at the Drawing Center through February 28. 

A blow-up of El Bulli's kitchen.
Inside the kitchen at El Bulli.
Ferran Adria's notebooks resemble those of a highschool student, covered with whimsical scribbles.
Ferran Adria’s notebooks resemble those of a highschool student, covered with whimsical scribbles.
Cocktail spray
Cocktail spray
"Dragon Kan" spatula
“Dragon Kan” spatula
Candy Nylon Adaptor
Candy Nylon Adaptor
Pills filled with spices were sometimes served to guests by the pack.
Pills filled with spices were sometimes served to guests by the pack.
Course-by-course diagram of just one meal at El Bulli.
Course-by-course diagram of just one meal at El Bulli.
A breakdown drawing of Peach Melba, the final dish ever served at El Bulli.
A visual breakdown drawing of Peach Melba, the final dish ever served at El Bulli.

 

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