Author(s): Lisa Abend
It was, arguably, the most famous restaurant in the world and perhaps one of the most significant and influential ever: the legendary 'el Bulli' in Catalonia, which closed in 2011, attained a near-mythic reputation for culinary wizardry. But what actually went on behind the scenes? What was 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, how she and the other apprentices learned to push themselves and the limits of their abilities, how they adjusted to a style of cooking that was creative in the extreme and how they dealt with the pressures of performing at the highest level night after night. In past years stagiares have clashed with the severe demeanour of Oriol Castro, the restaurant's chef de cuisine; others have gone on to work at the restaurant. One was sent home each year, unable to fit into the high-wire act that is the el Bulli kitchen. Complicating things even more, the stagiares lived together in shared apartments, so the events and emotions of their personal lives bled more than usual 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 people who submitted 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, made it work.