Had an awesome opportunity yesterday to spend time watching two great documentaries. Ell Bulli: Cooking in Progress & Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Two opposite approaches to food but both masterful in their results.
In El Bulli: Cooking in Progress we get to see into the creative process of the El Bulli team. While the restaurant was still operational, El Bulli used to close for 6 months out of the year, during which, the creative team moved to their test kitchen/laboratory in Barcelona to experiment with new ingredients & develop the techniques & the ideas that would form the new season’s menu. This documentary is a great look into a year at El Bulli. We get to see as the Chef’s test, taste & document their failures & successes equally. If you are looking for a documentary about the minds of the people behind El Bulli, this is not it. There are no interviews or history given about the restaurant or Ferran Adria. This documentary is nothing more than a fly on the wall of the former best restaurant in the world. For me, watching the process in this manner is more than enough. It’s definitely simple, but the food produced is far from. This is a great documentary for any foodie or simply anyone wanting to see avant-garde cuisine in its highest form.
Jiro Dreams of sushi is about the Chef/Owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 3 Michelin Star, 10 seat restaurant tucked away in a basement, next to the Ginza Metro Station. At 86 years old, Jiro Ono is the oldest recipient of the highest award given by Michelin. Did I mention that Jiro is 86 years old? It is amazing that at his age, this Sushi Master still has the passion to continually perfect his craft. In this documentary, we get see into the mind of Jiro, his story & the love for his life’s work. His dedication extends even to the simplicity of serving, watching people eat, seeing if his diners are right or left handed to determine where to place the sushi on the plate. His technique extends to even having the apprentices massage octopus for up to 40 minutes in order to achieve a tender texture once cooked. As much as this documentary is about sushi, at the heart it is about family & Japanese culture, work, dedication, passion & eccentricities. This was a great documentary and would definitely recommend to anyone out there with a passion for food.
This was a perfect way to spend a day off, a great way to see the dedication of two masters. I would love to hear your thoughts on these documentaries if you have seen them, or even to recommend more documentaries about food and Chef’s worth watching.