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February 19, 2014

El Bulli from A to Z

By Rima Suqi | Books

El Bulli from A to Z
Courtesy of Phaidon

Chef Ferran Adrià closed El Bulli three years ago, much to the dismay of those never lucky enough to procure a table at the legendary Michelin three-star Spanish restaurant. But some solace might be found in elBulli 2005-2011 (Phaidon; $625), a seven-volume book set scheduled for release in March but available for preorder now.

The books, billed as “a journey inside the creative process of the world’s greatest chef,” weigh in at a hefty 50 pounds and include one volume for each of the six seasons El Bulli was open. (The seventh is dedicated to an evolutionary analysis of the restaurant.) The collection features every recipe created during that time—more than 750 of them—in categories like cocktails, snacks, tapas and “morphings.” Full-page photographs (1,400 of them in all) illustrate the dishes.

“It’s like a catalogue raisonné,” says Adrià. “The importance of this book is not a specific recipe but in the ability to make the reader understand why we acted and focused on our cooking in this way. The result of these acts and thoughts became our recipes.”

Those recipes aren’t for novices, Adrià cautions. “They can be replicated perfectly in professional kitchens,” he explains, “but it was not really made or thought for home use.”

What might be easier to digest is a traveling exhibition of Adrià’s drawings, called “Notes on Creativity,” currently on view at the Drawing Center in New York (through February 28; drawingcenter.org). Next up: the ACE Museum in Los Angeles (May 4 to July 31; 400 S. La Brea Ave.; acemuseum.org) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (September 26, 2014, to January 18, 2015; 11400 Euclid Ave.; mocacleveland.org).