Posts Tagged ‘Fideua’

Stefano Baiocco

Year: 2003

Stefano Baiocco first applied for an elBulli stage in 2001. It wasn’t until 2003 that the restaurant told him they space for him. Even though he was by then working as sous-chef at a place in southern Italy, he dropped what he was doing and moved to Roses. Today, he is executive chef at Villa Feltrinelli, a grand hotel on the shores of Lake Garda, in Italy. He is also author of a cookbook, Mise en Place.

Why did you want to stage at elBulli?

My CV was already pretty complete. I had done stages in a lot of big places, like Enoteca Pinochiorri, Mugaritz, Ryogin in Japan,  L’Astrance,  Alain Ducasse in Paris, and Pierre Gagnaire,. And after being in France I thought, okay, so now I’m complete. I’ve tried lots of different styles, and with Ducasse’s perfectionism and Gagniare’s extreme creativity, I thought I was complete. But that year, people started to talk about this guy with a very different style, Ferran Adria. Someone I was working with flew to Spain just to eat at his restaurant. So I realized, no, I’m not complete.

How was elBulli different from the other places you had staged?

It’s not a real kitchen. It’s more like a theater. In fact, for an inexperienced cook, it’s probably not the best place to begin. You could work there ten years and not even learn how to cook a simple steak. Read the rest of this entry »

Nuno Mendes

(Ali Kurshat Altinsoy)

By Ali Kurshat Altinsoy

Year: 2003

Originally from Lisbon, Nuno Mendes worked at Coyote Café in the US before starting his stage at elBulli. After, he traveled extensively through Asia before landing in London, where he went on to become chef at the avant-garde Bacchus, and later founded the Loft Project, a sort of supper club in which up-and-coming chefs from around the world are invited to take up residence and showcase their cooking to a small group of appreciative diners. In April he launched Viajante, which may well be the best restaurant to open in 2010. Here, in a special guest appearance, he is interviewed by the most knowledgeable man in food, Ali Kurshat Altinsoy.

As a stagiaire, what tasks did you like best?

What I liked the most was just to be in kitchen and see how things were done. That and the rabbit brains. I thought they were quite cool.

And the least?

Oysters. Shucking oysters all day. Everybody’s doing oysters all the time. It’s a bit boring. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Goldfarb

Year: 1999

After his stage at elBulli, Will Goldfarb went on to  work at Tetsuya’s, Paul Liebrandt’s Papillon, and Cru. (As he says, “From the moment I left elBulli, I never had a problem getting a job”). Eventually he opened his own dessert bar in New York, Room4Dessert. He is also one of the founders of the Experimental Cuisine Collective.

Widely considered one of the most creative pastry chefs in the world, he currently lives in Bali, where he consults for the restaurant Ku De Ta, and oversees Willpowder, a website for specialty pastry products.

While you were staging at elBulli, were there any parts of mise–en-place or service, or any specific tasks that you particularly enjoyed? Any you disliked?

You know, I could probably recite my prep list there from memory twelve years later. I got to enjoy all of the preparation really, particularly the rolling out of nougatine plaques, which we were using for many garnishes that year, and making the air-bags for the tomato water sorbet snack. But I liked it all. One of my jobs was to take the trash out, and you know, there was a lot of trash at that place. Everyday Jose Mari and I would get in that little white truck and throw the garbage out. It’s not a job that most people get excited about, but I even liked doing that.

You staged in 1999, which was the last year that elBulli did two services a day. What was that like?

Two services a day, seven days a week. Every now and then we’d get a day off and Ruben Garcia (a fellow stagiaire, and today chef de cuisine at minibar, in Washington DC) and I would walk around the beach in Roses in a haze. Read the rest of this entry »