The Sorcerer's Apprentices: A Season at ElBulli

Abend, Lisa

It is, arguably, the most famous restaurant in the world and perhaps one of the most significant and influential ever: the legendary 'el Bulli' in Catalonia has attained a near-mythic reputation for culinary wizardry. But what actually goes on behind the scenes? What is the daily reality of life in the world's greatest kitchen? The Sorcerer's Apprentices tells first-hand the story of a young chef enrolled in the restaurant's legendary training course. It shows her struggle to adapt to the culture shock of el Bulli, how she and the other apprentices learn to push themselves and the limits of their culinary abilities, how they adjust to a style of cooking that is creative in the extreme and how they deal with the pressures of performing at the highest level night after night. In past years stagiers have clashed with the rather severe demeanor of Oriol Castro, the restaurant's chef de cuisine; others have gone on to work permanently at the restaurant. One, inevitably, is sent home each year, unable to fit into the high-wire act that is the el Bulli kitchen. Complicating things even more, the stagiers live together in shared apartments, so the events and emotions of their personal lives bleed more than usually into the professional. The Sorcerer's Apprentices tells these smaller, more human stories as well. At its heart, The Sorcerer's Apprentices is a quest: it tells the tale of a handful of aspiring young men and women who submit themselves to a grueling challenge in order to be made better by it. It also offers an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at the most famous restaurant in the world through the lens of those who, ultimately, make it work.

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