A JOURNALIST SPEAKS
PRESENTER: Hello and welcome to today's programme. My guest today is the
journalist James Langden who's here to make our mouths water! James recently had
lunch in one of the most famous restaurants in the world, El Bulli. As I am sure
many of you already know, El Bulli is a small restaurant on the east coast of
Spain, in Catalonia. It has been voted the best restaurant in the world five
times in the last ten years and has been described as serving 'the most
imaginative food on the planet'. James, you're a very lucky man – how on earth
did you manage to get a table?
JAMES: That's a good question. El Bulli is only open for six months of the year,
which means there are only 8,000 seats available per year, and there are two
million contenders for those seats. As a restaurant critic, I was lucky enough
to be around when the chef and co-owner Ferran Adria was about to publish a book
and he was keen to talk to a newspaper about it.
PRESENTER: Why has the restaurant become so famous?
JAMES: Well, Ferran Adria and his team were the first to start pushing the
boundaries of food and cooking, and bringing science into the kitchen. First of
all, they became famous for replacing sauces with foams and for presenting
flavours through the medium of warm jellies. When these ideas spread around the
world and became cliches, they moved on, for example to cooking' ingredients in
PRESENTER: So, what was your verdict on the meal?
JAMES: Well, I have to say that it was the very best dinner I've ever eaten.
PRESENTER: That's generous praise coming from a professional.
What exactly did you have to eat?
JAMES: We'd be here all night if I described
all the dishes to you.
There were 42 of them. They were tiny, but still, there were 42 of
PRESENTER: 42 different dishes? That's extraordinary! Were they all good?
JAMES: All but two of them were perfect.
PRESENTER: What were the two 'less than perfect' ones?
JAMES: One was a plate of very sour fruit, a bit like a mango, with a pile of
something which looked like tagliatelle but was actually made from frozen foie
gras. It tasted of cheese, for some reason, and had a curious, and slightly
unpleasant aftertaste. The other was a dish of a coconut cream and jelly which
tasted of not very much at all. But those were the only two. The other forty
PRESENTER: And what was your favourite dish?
JAMES: It's hard to say, there were so many to choose from. I think the best was
a crisp wafer of bitter chocolate with game mousse – unbelievably good.
PRESENTER: It sounds delicious. Thank you, James, for coming to talk to us.
JAMES: You're welcome.