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El Bulli oysters on a trip, 2001
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by Jerry Saltz

I was there almost by mistake, invited before anyone knew quite how little I know about food. I have never really cooked, don’t know how to use my dishwasher, and subsist mainly on prepared deli takeout. I don’t even eat in restaurants much. Yet here I was, invited to a meal at El Bulli, the Catalonian restaurant of Ferran Adrià. The occasion was a roundtable of art-world muckety-mucks, devoted to the work of the Spaniard widely considered the world’s most inventive chef, a pioneer of the intriguing, mad branch of cuisine known as "molecular gastronomy." I was the naïf in the room. (Before I was invited, I’d never heard of Adrià or his restaurant.) I was introduced on the panel as "the food virgin." Ouch.