When Cedric Vongerichten petitioned the Culinary Institute of America for an externship at elBulli, few Americans had heard of Ferran Adrià, and the school didn’t yet have it on its approved list of restaurants. But Vongerichten, who had worked in his dad’s restaurants since he was 14, went anyway. When it was over, he finished school, then worked as sous-chef at Jean-Georges in New York. Since 2009, he has been executive chef at Perry St.
You staged not only in the restaurant, but in the taller [elBulli’s workshop, where recipes are developed during the off-season] as well. What was that like?
It was amazing. I had the same routine every day. I would wake up early in the morning and go to the Boqueria market, which is right next to the lab, to get produce. Then we’d spend all day working on whatever the theme was that week—a particular product or gum, for example. Then at night we’d sit down and have a meeting where we’d talk about how things went, what we were going to work on next, and what produce I needed to get the next morning. We worked about eight hours a day. It was like office hours.
At the restaurant, were there any parts of mise-en-place that you particularly enjoyed?
I liked getting the whole rabbit heads. We had to remove the ears to make chips, and then scoop out the brain with a spoon. That was cool. Read the rest of this entry »