Simon Lennblad did a stage not only at elBulli, but at the French Laundry in Napa Valley as well. Before both, he was already working at PM Restaurant in Våxjo, Sweden as chef de partie. These days, he’s chef de cuisine there, and also oversees the restaurant’s greenhouse and garden.
Where were you in the kitchen? Did you stay in a single station or move around?
In the beginning I worked everywhere, but after a while, they put me on fish station for service. And normally I did all the spherifications during the day.
What were the parts or tasks you liked the best? The least? Any part of mise that drove you crazy?
I really liked most of it. Taking out seeds of the cucumber at first drove me crazy but until I was driven to make myself the fastest at it. Then it got fun.
What was your impression of Ferran at the time?
He’s a great man who changed gastronomy . A lot of people whish don’t understand elBulli talk badly about it; they say that it’s not food. But it is food at its best .
Any particular incidents stand out in memory?
When the electricity went out and we had to peel corn in the dark. That was surreal.
How was living in the apartment with all the other stagiaires?
There were only three of us, but it was like a psychological experiment. No, it was good fun.
Do you feel like your stage changed you, professionally and/or personally?
Albert Raurich (chef de cuisine) changed me a lot. He gave me good advices after the stage, and whenever work or life is hard, I think of his words. He said that you should never let logic limit your thinking. I always believe my visions nowadays.
If you had to sum it up, what would you say is the most important lesson you learned at elBulli?
Everyday work your hardest.
What was your favorite family meal?
Garlic soup and ox cheeks.