Geeta Bansal Interviews Albert Adria, Pastry Genius

Categories: On the Line

Brioche al vapor con queso trufado

Is there anything about restaurant menus universally that you do not like?

I do not care for pretentious menus. One must know the limits and offer menus according to what it is possible to accomplish. As Albert said in his talk at the conference, "In our restaurants we did not start with a lot of money but aim to transmit pure feeling from the heart to our guests. Children and animals teach us a lot about it. Firstly the content and quality of ingredients has to be great. A finished dish should have elegance, good taste and be fragile."

White chocolate and green tea rock

What is your favorite meal that you eat to de-stress, what we call comfort food in the US?

As everyone else in the most general sense, it is what you enjoy the most. I love vegetables. So a dish-based on vegetables is my go to.

I know that you have travelled all over the world and tried various cuisines. Is there any cuisine in the world that you would like to master besides your own?

Other cuisines, of course Chinese and Thai cuisine. It would be good to learn about and from them.

What is the most unusual cuisine that you have experienced?

The Asian cuisine of course, even though I know more about it now, I would like to know the food of countries like Vietnam, China and especially the deep south of Japan even better. (As evident in the Peruvian-Japanese concept of his upcoming venture that had not been formally announced yet).

Which one of your peers do you respect and admire the most?

A tantos, I admire so many. I do not specifically like one over another (I don't why but most chefs choose to exercise diplomacy when asked this question).

Which female chef do you think is most innovative?

I do not think there is a gender involved in cooking, it seems sexist to differentiate between one professional cook and another based on sex.

I am so glad to hear you say that, it truly shows the change in the food profession for women. I know you have visited the US many times but what are your favorite places that like to go back to?

Definitely New York and Chicago. The last time we met was at a lunch hosted by Chef Aduriz of Mugaritz. He was driving 5 hours from San Sebastian to Barcelona to hop on a flight to New York for the opening of the Mossimo Dutti store the next day.

When is your next planned visit after this brief trip tomorrow to the US?

I don't know. You know that I am planning to open three new restaurants in Barcelona this year and it will be an extremely busy year for me.

(Pakta, his new restaurant that will present Peruvian-Japanese fusion, was slated to open on January 15th but has been postponed to early March. I was updated this morning by Silvia, his lovely wife. The Adria brothers are moving 41 Degrees, their avant-garde collaboration, to a larger location as the present one has only 16 seats and a meteor shower of reservation requests. They are also opening a Mexican tapas style restaurant in the Raval quarter of Barcelona. Food enthusiasts all over the world are waiting to find a seat at these illustrious tables and bar counters)

What is a vacation that you are looking forward to taking in the future?

An extensive journey through Asia which in fact would be a journey through gastronomy.

What are your views on collaborations with other chefs and cuisines?

I made collaborations with many other chefs during RAW in Japan where chefs from different countries came together for several days. It was one of the topmost experiences of my professional life. (I have seen the camaraderie amongst these guys, they genuinly appreciate and share techniques and information with each other, but always giving due credit. They imitate as a compliment and share out of a joyful spirit of their profession. Whether it is Mauro Colagreco Of Mirazur,Menton, France or Dani Garcia of Calima in Marbella, Spain, I have seen chefs publically compliment Albert Adria on their use of his techniques and presentations. I wish more chefs did that and would give credit where it is due)

How do you feel about other chefs putting your creations on their menus?

It is a compliment! I get a smile on my face when I see things directly inspired by my work.

I cannot wait to visit my young friend again very soon, maybe at Pakta later this spring, but I will always be a member of his fan club.

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