Paris — Decades ago, France was severely shocked. A Spanish restaurant called El Bulli on the Catalan coast north of Barcelona led a culinary revolution that was so bold that French cuisine suddenly looked like a stilt.
In an article that the French never forgot, Arthur Lubow wrote in The New York Times Magazine that “Spain has become a new France.” The chef commented that classic French cuisine is short of gas. A country proposed by a respected Spanish food critic, the chef goes “to learn what to do”. How can a calf blanket or morel and cream entrecote hold a candle in a white bean foam with sea urchin or spherical melon caviar?
It was in 2003. Ferran Adrià worked with his brother Albert to turn his restaurant in the Catalan seaside town of Rosas into a gastronomic jewel.
The world wanted to enjoy Adria’s improbable fusion and lightness. The kitchen and laboratory have been integrated. Escofier succumbed to the essence. The sauce was ventilated rather than reduced. Beatform and basil jelly were the new Hollandaise and Velouté sauces.
However, the pendulum always swings too much. Overwhelmed El Bulli closed its door in 2011. The flowering of the wonderful Catalan and Basque cuisine that France left licking its wounds has passed its peak. Other countries-Peru, Denmark, Japan-have become the subject of gastronomic appeal.
France, like the Isop turtle, has great ingredients, memorable professionalism, demanding taste, great wine, strict finesse, and, as needed, as AJ Reebling once said, “Regiment We followed the path shaped by “melted butter enough to inspire”. After all, that’s what frog legs demand — and not just butter: the obscure beauty of another world of French butter.
“For some time, Spanish was better than us,” said renowned culinary consultant Nicholas Chatenier. “They had a message. We didn’t. Adapting old knowledge to modern situations was a cool call. Food is the soft power of France that you have to understand. . “
No one has been as effective as Alain Ducasse, 65, a strict and restless French chef who grew up on a farm in the southwestern part of the country. At the age of 33, he became the youngest Michelin-starred chef in history (at Louis XV in Monaco) and has since accumulated 29 in 30 restaurants in Europe, Asia and the United States. Always on the move, Ducas is an entrepreneurial perfectionist.
He wants to say, “one problem? Two solutions,” but in countries where it seems less likely to want to be “yes” than “no,” reflexes are not always seen. Now Ducas has come up with an ingenious plan that seems to lie down to rest the trauma of France and Spain with complete elegance.
He works with Albert Adrià, a junior partner on El Bulli’s journey and now a restaurant owner in Barcelona, to combine French, Spanish and other dishes with a focus on sustainable ingredients. Created a 100-day pop-up. There is no meat on the menu. Fish and cereals stand out, except for the rich Brillat-Savalan cheese with a light meringue and alba truffles. Above all, there is a quest for an innovative and amazing balance of unlikely ingredients.
Called ADMO — Adrià, Ducasse, Romain Meder (formerly Ducasse’s executive chef at Plaza-Athénée), and an acronym for Les Ombres, a restaurant that houses pop-ups — this experiment is the first of such ambitions in Paris. It is a temporary restaurant. Set in a room that offers one of the best views of the city of the Eiffel Tower. The desserts are Jessica Prealpat and Adria.
“This is a European act, an act of civilization through fine cuisine,” suggested Ducas, a skillful marketer and unusual gastronomic talent.
Adria, 52, said she didn’t hesitate. “Come to Paris at the invitation of Alain Ducasse was more risky to him than I was!” He said. Decades after the Spanish food revolution, it was an opportunity to “see how food sharing, discussion, exchanging ideas and secrets, and gastronomy has evolved into a universal language.”
When I was talking in the kitchen before the opening of ADMO this month, I tasted the ingredients of black quinoa nut miso and cacao galette with apéritif.
“Reducing butter, adding a little more miso, and frying nuts will make things easier!” He instructed a rushing team of nine members brought from Spain.
The Spanish Revolution was a liberation from France, as Mr. Adria reflected. It guillotineed the notion that great food is inevitably French food in its basics. His brother traveled to France on a regular basis. El Bulli’s early menu with saffron mussel soup and roasted lamb was a derivative.
“Then I started asking myself why my mother used olive oil all the time, but didn’t use the local ingredients curry and sea urchin, and why she steamed the vegetables and added butter,” he said. Told.
The bohemian exchange of ideas has spawned some unusual dishes at ADMO. Adrià has a Mexican restaurant in Barcelona. He suggested a mole sauce with angler liver and black sesame paste confit, served with brown butter-roasted cauliflower. The cooking technique here is mainly French cuisine, an idea of Spain and Mexico.
“This dish really united us,” Meder said.
Integrating kitchen staff with different protocols and techniques has not always been easy, especially given the complex combinations of materials.
Quickly cooked curry asari is dressed in spicy verbena butter seasoned with buck’s-horn plank extract. Cod skin is cut into buckwheat-like strands in mushroom and Galician sea urchin soup. Sea cucumbers in Saint-Tropez are served with garlic confit, chickpeas and caviar.
“Some American guests seem to find the texture of sea cucumbers a bit difficult,” Chatenier said after the restaurant opened this month.
The 13-course dinner menu costs 380 euros, or about $ 430, about half of lunch, and ADMO incorporates “luxury” into its fine cuisine. The recommended liquor for some courses is the 2008 Dom Pérignon Rosé Champagne, which is served in different dishes at different temperatures.
For Ducas, who believes in the fun and separation air of fierce attention to detail, this is the latest in many ventures in recent years, including new businesses in ice cream and chocolate. He is driving At the age of 28, he was in a small plane crashed in the Alps, killing four other people on board and writhing in the snow for hours before being rescued.
“Then you believe you are destined and want to control it,” he said.
Ducas says he never doubted the elastic appeal of French cuisine. “It’s an obsession, something in our DNA,” he said. “The right reduction, the right temperature, the right seasoning, the right preparation, and the expertise to find the right wine to accompany it.”
What makes Ducas stand out is the pursuit of single-minded expansion, with some critics saying he is too slender and at the same time interested in perfectly executed simple dishes and extreme sophistication. I have.
The black boudin sausage or roast pork under the new chef Marie-Victorine Manoa at the affordable Aux Lyonnais bistro in Paris excites him as much as ADMO, which closes on March 9. The bread served in the middle of the meal is a clear Ducas touch, a pleasant food pause.
“OK, so now the Scandinavian people are offering the perfect peas plate,” he said. “So what? What? Next?“
Ducasse likes the Italian word “aggiornamento”. This is what he considers to be a continuous adaptation of tradition. After all, ADMO is not a fusion of France and Spain …