Recipe - Naked Lunch

First, create a basket of spun caramelised sugar. Place in it the braised hearts of five Ortolans and top with a sauce made up of two parts butterscotch Angel Delight and one part chopped fennel. Spray with liquid nitrogen and serve on a bed of raddichio.

Nonsense. But believable nonsense. Today we get the news that El Bulli, "The World's Finest Restaurant" is to close permanently, due to it making huge losses. That is because, if there was a better exemplar of the "Emporer's New Clothes" I have never heard of it. And that goes for the Fat Duck at Bray, too - a place that is so preposterous and anachronistic, that it serves seafood contaminated with shit and wine at £150 a bottle that can be bought off the shelf for fifteen quid.

Rich people will eat anything if it costs enough. Now, the Weasel is not untutored in the culinary arts. He has eaten at Michelin starred restaurants around the world and, apart from the occasional disaster, can and does cook. But the demise of El Bulli is surely a sign that no amount of trout egg tempura or "tagliatelli" of shaved foie gras is going to revolutionise gastronomy. Indeed, it has tried to send it back three hundred years, to the days when only the rich could afford sugar. So, El Bulli, you will not be missed, goodbye, good riddance, and fuck off.

Richard has inspired me to add this:

8 comments:

Richard said...

Spot on. I loved the story of the chef who walked out when the owner asked him not make any more poncey food. I hadn't heard of El Bulli, but now I don't think I will bother looking it up. Emperor's new clothes indeed.

Mrs R said...

Good, I've never quite worked out whether "finest" or "exclusive" refers to the menu or the keep-out-the-hoi-polloi prices of some of these places.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

A great story Richard, which has prompted me to add something to this post.

Mrs R, there are certainly some places that cost a bit, but are worth it, and then there are many, many more that are just pretentious. By the way, I also noted the passing of Dick Francis. I never read his books, but My stepfather, who was not only once a bookmaker, but an author and writer for the Sporting Life, knew him and read all his books.

Richard said...

That's a very good clip. It's how I have often felt in restaurants, and it's also why Macdonalds do so well.

Jim Baxter said...

Purists insist on dried heads which can then be cooked 'al dente', an option not available when fresh heads are used. Vacuum packed fresh heads (a contradiction in terms but what do the lumpen know) are available in Sainsbury's and other stores where the gauche, who think all fresh produce is to be prized merely because it is fresh, shop.

Epicures would not be be seen dead choosing such produce, and only a careless fool would think it a big joke to get round the gross faux pas by leaving the teeth in fresh heads.

Dave said...

I went to a firm's Christmas dinner at a fancy restaurant once. God it was awful. I hated the other members of staff and they hated me. I hated the food. It was poncy and there wasn't enough. Sprinkling icing sugar over a home made after eight mint on a plate is no substitute for jam roly poly and custard.
I left early to get to the chippy before it closed, as I was still hungry

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Jam Roly Poly is my idea of heaven. Heads should be al dente, but I always put the eyeballs on the side of the plate, and then they follow me around the room.

Richard said...

And the dente should be al testa too, if I'm not mistaken. Mind you, there's nothing like a nice bit of tongue.