dissabte, 29 de novembre de 2008

Cooking as neurophenomenology

(Picture by Francesc Guillamet)

Yesterday, in the Catalan TV program "En clau de vi" which introduces the complex world of wine to the general public, we had the fortune to see and hear Ferran Adrià, 4 times considered by the critics "the best cook in the world" and the chef of the world-known restaurant El Bulli.

When asked "what is gastronomy" he replied in a very elegant and neurophenomenological way, holding a glass of water. He said that we usually just drink the water and don't pay attention to it. But, when we consider water from a gastronomic perspective, things do change. First we take a look at it and observe that it is transparent. And that, Adrià stated, is quite amazing, there almost no ingredients that are transparent. Next we smell it, and we can't find any specific smell, again something quite unusual in the culinary world. When we drink it, besides not noticing much flavor, our mouth will be full with the texture of water, that sort of "acquous" property that liquids like water have. So, Adrià concluded, water is something quite remarkable, a very special experience in gastronomy.
In the end, gastronomy is not about expensive ingredients or amazing technological instruments; it's just about paying proper attention to your inner experiences.

If you understand Catalan, you can see the whole program here.