Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Emperor's New Clothes! Is Spain falling into the gastro trap??
I stumbled across this video (click the link below) of a cookery demonstration by a top level chef and am now very, very scared for Spain's gastronomic future. It's in Spanish and I'm afraid it's a bit long winded with lots of rabbiting on by the chef about being an inventor and giving twists to classic dishes and surprises to the diners. Please bear with it if you want to see the car-crash that is his final dish.
His mission is to change, innovate and surprise. I thought we all just wanted excellent food?
Anyway......the first dish involves wrapping an egg yolk and a piece of ham in pizza dough and then deep frying it. He says the objective is that the yolk should be warm, the ham, melting and the bread crunchy. I haven't eaten it so can't really comment, but I suppose it sound reasonably pleasant. My real problem is with the second dish. Let me explain.
He cooks an egg for 30 minutes at 65 degrees. Ok....whatever! (this is so irrelevant when you see what happens to it later)
He shells it and puts in a bowl. He drizzles oil and adds salt.
He pours on an infusion of squid and explains that the dish is trying to put a TWIST on a Spanish noodle soup (sopa de fideus). He then adds a big mound of deep fried rice noodles. ( a cheap, gimmicky trick with a so-what-ish result)
It's now starting to look ridiculous.
He says he wants the diner to be reminded of childhood memories of bowls of popcorn.
What's the point? Am I at the cinema or in a fine dining reastaurant?
And how do you eat it?
He explains....and demonstrates.
"As the diner eats, the dish changes. Dishes should change during the eating."
(He starts to mash the noodles into the soup in a way that children do when they don't want to eat something).
"It will start to mix together and by the third mouthful it will start to ressemble a traditional noodle soup."
ER....NO.....IT WILL START TO RESEMBLE DOG VOMIT!!!!
I don't know about you, but I don't want what I ordered to mutate into something different. I want it to stay deliciously-the-same until it's finished.
¡Ostia!. If this is the future, Spain's cooking is in great danger of self destructing in the way French Nouvelle Cuisine did in the 80's, when 'wannabes' lost sight of the truths and just ran with the gimmicks. It will become a parody of itself. Such extreme pushing of creative boundaries should be done by a few geniuses, the rest need to remember just to cook good food. He has indeed 'twisted' and 'surprised' thereby achieving his stated objectives. But twists for twists' sake are pointless, and a seagull shitting on your shoulder can be a surprise, but not necessarily a pleasant one. PLEASE GET A GRIP AND STOP MESSING WITH THE FOOD!