‘A Day at elBulli’: An Exclusive Slideshow and Excerpt

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If you can’t swing an El Bulli cookbook (available for $325 at Despaña), Phaidon will release, next week, A Day at elBulli. It’s a lot cheaper ($32.97 on Amazon) but extraordinarily handsome — the massive 528-page hardcover follows gastro god Ferran Adrià and his crew almost minute-by-minute through the course of their day via hundreds of photos (you can see some of them here, via our slideshow). There's Adrià arriving at his secret workshop, the “creative notebooks,” meetings, logistics manager José Mari shopping at the markets, family meal,
Engines of Gastronomy–esque gadget shots, and, of course, stunning photos of dishes like “Peach liquid.” (Plus recipes!)

Peppered throughout are inserts outlining Adrià’s “creative methods” (the chef is the “emitter,” the waiter is the “transmitter,” and the guest is the “receptor” — and you thought the Eldridge’s terms were annoying!), as well as pamphlets about “The elBulli team” (a Facebook of everyone right down to the dishwashers), “A history of elBulli” (a six-page timeline), “The menu” (divided, of course, into four acts), “A guest’s path through the restaurant” (complete with floorplan!), “The electronic wine list,” and “elBulli in numbers,” which we’ve excerpted for you here.

15 – Tables per day
50 – Guests per day
160 – Days open for business
8,000 – Guests per year
7–20,000 (4–12,400) – kilometers (miles) travelled by guests to eat at elBulli
70 – Staff members working at the height of the season
40 – Chefs
26 – People working in the dining room
8 (5) – Kilometres (miles) walked per day, on average, by each waiter
11,200 – Staff meals per year
12,000 (129,165) – Sqaure metres (square feet) of land by the sea
80 (860) – Square metres (square feet) of terrace
350 (3,770) – Square metres (square feet) of kitchen space
250 (2,690) – Square metres (square feet) of dining room space
200 Euros – per meal in 2008
230 Euros – per person including drinks in 2008 (on average)
170-200 – ingredients on the menu
1,500 – Cocktails, snacks, tapas-dishes, avant-desserts, desserts and morphings served per day
700 (25) – Grams (ounces) of food per meal per guest
5,600 (5 ½) – Kilograms (tons) total weight of food consumed per year
200 – Kitchen cloths and aprons used every night
1,000 – Pieces of cutlery used every night
10,000 – Bottles opened per year
55 – Types of glassware
750 – Glasses moved around the restaurant daily
1,666 – Wines on the list
40 – Different vintages
216 – Grape varieties
325 – Different DOCs on the wine list
2 – Wine ageing cellars
4,000 – Hours of creative work per year

This book may be your only chance to get into Adrià's world if you haven't been invited to the launch party at Per Se next week. His events this upcoming week — a talk with Corby Kummer and Harold McGee, another with Anthony Bourdain, and a third with his former apprentice José Andres are, of course, completely sold out.