On the Casa do Carbonara YouTube channel, run by a Brazilian university professor of cultural history with a passion for food, João Grinspum Ferraz, the new interview gets in deep with El Bulli chef Ferrán Adriá. The 21-minute interview is part of the series of videos called Retratos, which shows cultural relations between food, drink, and the contemporary world through conversations with chefs, winemakers, and other culinary professionals. The series began as a way to bridge Grinspum’s work in cultural history with his passion for food and wine. Adriá’s interview kicks off the fourth season of Retratos.
In the interview from inside the El Bulli Foundation in Barcelona, Adria discusses territory, Homo habilis, his mother’s food, Raymond Olivier doing TV shows in 1954, if mixologists are cooks, and much more.
The full interview is below, but here are some key phrases:
On Territory: “The territory, what is it? Our sentimental, emotional environment? Our geopolitical environment? Our geographic environment? What are we talking about, no? It’s important to make it clear that all of these influence you. But nowadays, in the time of the Internet, all of this is another way of understanding it. A hundred years ago all of this would have a very different meaning than now, of course, I think more like a Catalan, like a Spaniard, like an European than like a Russian. But this doesn’t mean that one can say that they are only being influenced by one, your territory. Your territory, what is your territory? When one dedicates themselves to create this different concept, it’s like saying that Joan Miró did Catalan painting. You know, it is secondary, because the most important thing, when you dedicate yourself to creating is to create.”
On Kilometer 0: “This kilometer 0 thing, we did in the year 88, 89. But of course, this has limitations. When you dedicate yourself to creating, you can’t impose limitations. If you impose limitations, you’re not free, and so, of course, that’s a different attitude.”
On Pizza: “Pizza is not Italian. The pizza, it’s origin is from where now is Italy, and of course the Italians say it’s from the kingdom of Naples, no? So of course, the vision of your territory, of your culture is very different.”
On Nourishment: “None of the chefs you have interviewed dedicate themselves to food as a manner of nourishment. They dedicate to culinary as something hedonistic, which is totally different.”
On Anthropology: “The most important anthropologist in the world doesn’t talk to a cook. And with all due respect in the world, he doesn’t understand this. It’s how I wouldn’t understand Homo habilis if I didn’t talk to an anthropologists and archeologists, which I do. I can explain to you a certain history, the origin and the evolution of cooking not because I know it, but because word class anthropologists and archeologists have explained it to me.”
On His Mother’s Food: “I don’t tell you that my mother was the best cook I ever met. Of course, my mother was the best cook in the world, you know? In the world! Because I loved her so much that I exalt her more. But if I put myself in an objective level as a cook, she wasn’t the best cook even in the neighborhood. You see, we have to be objective because, if not, the emotional sentiment versus pragmatism is complex.”