Ferran Adrià doesn’t work for Sip. But if he did, we like to think he would come up with ideas like the Sip Coffee and Oat, our protein shake with coffee. And if he stops in on his way through town sometime, we bet he’ll like it.
El pináculo of the restaurant world
Adrià was the head chef at what was described by many as the world’s greatest restaurant: elBulli in Catalonia, Spain. Don’t bother trying to get a reservation. It isn’t a restaurant anymore. But when it was, it was incredible.
How incredible was it? Adrià kept it open only six months of every year. (You can do that when the average price of a meal at tu casa is north of $300.) And just before Christmas each year, when it closed for the season, there was only one day you could request a reservation for the next season, which wouldn’t begin until June. There were 8,000 seats available each season; 8,000 possible reservations. Near the end of its run, elBulli was getting 2 million reservation requests. From all over the world. On that one day.
Word had gotten around, probably because Restaurant magazine named elBulli the world’s greatest restaurant five times between 2002 and 2009. No other place had ever earned that distinction. And probably because The Guardian in Britain called it, “… the most imaginative generator of haute cuisine on the planet.”
It will help you understand what they meant by “imaginative” if you know some of the things Adrià came up with for elBulli’s menu, which changed year after year. Things like …
- Savory Tomato Ice with Oregano and Almond Milk Pudding
- White Bean Foam with Sea Urchin
- Smoke Foam
- Hot Black Truffle Jelly with Cod Skin
- Hot Frozen Passion Fruit Whisky Sour
- Carrot Air with Bitter Coconut Milk
Adrià’s specialty was experimenting with … well, experimental foods. He created a kind of kitchen science people called “molecular gastronomy,” using chemistry and physics to make familiar foods into things like “foams” (created by putting stuff other than cream through a whipped cream siphon) and “airs” (food with the texture of soap bubbles).
Maybe the most fun, and weirdest, were “spheres,” made by controlled gelling of an edible liquid to create things like his liquid olive.
The idea you’re getting is that Ferran Adrià is all about unexpected combinations — like our protein shake with coffee. (Sometimes in our dreams, we describe our Coffee and Oat to him, and he says, “Hmmm. Protein shake. Coffee. Eureka!” Only he says it all in Spanish. Did you know “Eureka!” in Spanish is “Eureka!”?)
Combinations make the difference
So here’s the thing you don’t suspect about Adrià: He’s an unexpected combination himself. He didn’t start out at one of those fancy chef schools with a French name and wild-eyed sadistic instructors who would just as soon fling a couperet at you as look at you, spitting and cursing at you in French, which we have to admit we wish we could do because it sounds a lot worse than in English.
No. Ferran Adrià started out as a dishwasher. A hotel dishwasher. And it was while he was working in the kitchen of a hotel that one of the chefs started teaching him culinary basics. Then he got drafted, and he worked off his enlistment as a cook. After the service, he had enough kitchen smarts to get hired as a line cook at elBulli, which already existed, but with a very different philosophy. Less than two years later he was head chef. And then he started to blow up the world of fancy restaurants, and that was probably because he never went to one of the fancy chef schools. That’s probably why he could imagine combinations no one ever had.
And it’s also probably why he believed that just because two flavors don’t get combined very often doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see what it would be like if you did. Because if you don’t,
you might never experience deliciousness like our protein shake with coffee, the Sip Coffee and Oat.
Yeah, you were wondering when we were going to come back around to that. So here’s the magical combination:
- Chocolate protein
- Almond milk
- Peanut butter
- Shot of espresso
Look at all those things that are not only good for you, but tasty. Then we add some espresso, which is always good.
OK, maybe it’s not as out-there hip as Hot Black Truffle Jelly with Cod Skin. But you wouldn’t want to drink one of those for breakfast, would you? And ours is good any other time of day, too.
The thing is, we know Sip isn’t getting a call from the awards committee of Restaurant Magazine anytime soon. (Aren’t you glad? If we did you’d never get a reservation. Now you can just walk right in.) But we feel the same way about our delicious creations like this protein shake with coffee that Ferran Adrià feels about his.
“It’s like a building,” he said. “We begin with one element or material. Then we work to perfect it, starting with small quantities, going bit by bit. It’s a success, first, if it opens a new path; and second, if it excites you.”
We couldn’t have said it better, maestro. Let’s toast it with a Coffee and Oat! Try it today.