José Andrés: The Spanish Pilgrim


If you love food (especially Spanish) and haven’t heard of José Andrés, a Spanish chef who was trained at the famous El Bulli restaurant, then you must read this!  Until last night, I had never heard of Andrés.  I was half-asleep on the couch while people were flipping through channels.  The remote was finally set down as Anderson Cooper on  60 minutes flashed on the screen.As I was laying half-dazed on the couch, the phrase “molecular gastronomy” piqued my interest.   We’ve all been told that science is the foundation of everything in existence.  I’ve known that fact for awhile, but I never really thought about it in context until last night. Molecular Gastronomy is simply a way of cooking that embraces science and technology, and Andrés does just this with his cooking.  In fact, this fall he is preparing to teach a culinary physics course at Harvard.

José Andrés is most famous for his avant garde approach to food.  He is typically credited with bringing the now-fashionable “small plate” to America.  The idea of the small plate is to serve many smaller courses as opposed to a few larger ones.  It wouldn’t be unusual to consume more than 20 courses!

Andrés truly believes that he is creating a work of art when he cooks, and after seeing some of the plates he prepared, I would definitely agree.  He remarked upon the fact that Americans eat too much meat. “Well, meat to me, it’s slightly boring. Hold on, I love meat too but only once in a while. You get a piece of meat and you put it in your mouth, you chew, the first five seconds, all the juices flow around your mouth, they’re gone, and then you are 20 more seconds chewing something that is tasteless at this point. Something like this doesn’t happen with a pineapple, an asparagus, or a green pea,” he explained.

His philosophy is to make the entire process of eating sensational – literally.  He incorporates a variety of tastes and textures that may not seem to go together for a unique and exciting experience.  With his idea of creating art is also the corresponding component that the tasters of his food have great enjoyment as they eat.

Here’s our favorite Spanish recipes!

Anderson Cooper visited Andrés’ experimental kitchen laboratory, Minibar, in Washington DC. There is currently a month-long waiting list at this restaurant that serves only 6 people at a time with only 2 seatings: one at 6 pm and the other at 8:30 pm.

The dishes that were shown were unique, to say the least.  They were generally only a few bites and were in what some might call crazy combinations.  For example, one seafood dish was wrapped in cotton candy.  Why would he do this?  Well, Andrés told Cooper, “Cotton candy is the most amazing form of caramelization ever invented by man. You’re gonna love it.” He is a master of luring taste buds out of their comfort zone.

Since I personally love Spanish food, here’s a delicious tapas recipe.

Check out the the image gallery for some of his Minibar creations. There’s literally a photo of a deconstructed glass of white wine!

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  • Michael @

    I recently had the opportunity to eat at Jose Andres’s Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in LA. (Here’s my review). It is cool to me to hear the quote you gave about vegetables, because I’m vegetarian and I have to say his restaurant did an *amazing* job with the green stuff. Every course was mind blowing and the whole experience was one of my favorite meals ever. It is more than just food, it is entertaining at a very high level.

  • AllisonEvans

    Wow, that’s so cool that you’ve been to one of his restaurants; I am jealous! I also loved the meat quote since I am a vegetarian as well! I couldn’t resist adding it to my post! I hope he makes his way to Chicago because I would love to have the opportunity to taste and see his creations.

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