cover image Food for Thought, Thought for Food

Food for Thought, Thought for Food

. Actar, $44.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-84-96954-68-7

Ferran Adria, head chef at elBulli, near Barcelona, is widely considered one of the most innovative artists currently working in food. The term ""artist"" is not rhetorical: Adria was (controversially) invited to Kassel in 2007 to take part in documenta, one of the world's most important international art exhibitions. Even more controversial was Adria's refusal to come to them-instead, he insisted that elBulli become an official documenta venue. Consequently, the exhibit found curator Roger Buergel flying two patrons per day to Costa Brava (860 miles away) to experience Adria's art. Opening essays provide background on Adria, including about 40 pages of color photos of Adria's dishes, taken by the chef over two decades at elBulli. Editor (and Pop art guru) Hamilton places Adria in a long tradition of food-related art including work by Daniel Spoerri, Bruce Nauman and Alison Knowles. The volume also collects written responses to the documenta dining experience at elBulli; these letters should put to rest any remaining questions regarding the work's artistic merit. Patron Simryn Gill perhaps puts it best: ""the experience was curiously disorienting...neither dinner nor supper, nor was it food, nourishment, or sustenance...but rather surprise, pleasure, sensuous delight, repulsion, irritation, discomfort, exhaustion, amazement, stupor.""