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A Day at elBulli

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  661 ratings  ·  49 reviews
"A Day at elBulli: an insight into the ideas, methods and creativity of Ferran Adrià is an exclusive look behind the scenes at elBulli, the best restaurant in the world, and into the mind of Ferran Adrià, the most creative chef working today." With 2,000,000 requests for reservations every year and only 8,000 places, it is notoriously difficult to get a table there. Now, f ...more
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published October 15th 2008 by Phaidon Press (first published January 1st 2007)
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Feb 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
This gigantic tome serves as a useless cookbook for anyone who is looking to practically apply any of Ferran Adria's molecular gastronomy techniques in his/her own kitchen; rather, it is an entertaining image-laden account of Adria's daily routine in the 3-Michelin star restaurant El Bulli which details his creative but disciplined processes and gastronomic philosophy, organised according to a 24-hr timeline.

Legendary institutions such as El Bulli are not built in a day, and the book's differen
Serge Pierro
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-and-wine
Quite an impressive book - both on covering Elbulli and its sheer weight! This hefty book is more of a pictorial essay on a day at Elbulli, though there are inserts with text explaining the approaches and such taken by Ferran Adria. Having previously read a book on Elbulli (The Sorcerer's Apprentices) I was familiar with the cast of main characters, and this book fleshed out that impression with an impressive collection of photographs showing all the aspects of the day. Having worked in a kitche ...more
Vladimir Semenov
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
An insight into one of the most influential restaurants in the world. A bit of recipes with a lot of pictures. More interesting for someone who has not ever been in the restaurant kitchen, rather than professional chef. Insight into creativity was nice, though.
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: food, 2011
This is an oversized picture book with a lot of information from El Bulli, a restaurant in Spain, which also happens to be a hotbed of molecular gastronomy invention and experimentation. There are menus, recipes, ingredient descriptions. You can meet the staff and walk through a day at El Bulli. You can see the reservation process, and the guest's experience. There are huge, gorgeous photos of delectable, unimaginable food. The photos don't seem to match the descriptions. The food is otherworldl ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it liked it
An in depth look at one of the most famous restaurants in the world from the daily schedule to the scenery to the recipes. There is a brief biography of Adrià. Adria defines creativity as not copying and emphasizes how creativity is at the heart of ElBulli and its avant- garde approach to dining.
For the home cook, this book provides an opportunity to think about what type of cooking they want to pursue. Cookbooks generally allow us to copy but they can also be a key to creativity by opening up w
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Ferran Adria is considered by some/many culinary experts as the world's greatest chef and El Bulli (in Spain) as one of the premier restaurants anywhere. This book is the photo and text portrait of a day at El Bulli, including the activities of everybody from the people and places the restaurant buys its food from to the chefs, the sous chefs, the waitstaff, and, eventually, those only 8000 persons a year lucky enough (and rich enough) to spend over 200 Euros per person for the tasting menu of 3 ...more
Lori Ann
Oct 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
This chef opens his restaurant (which, btw, is considered the best restaurant in the world) only 6 months a year so he can focus on inventing new cooking techniques during the other 6 months. I found learning about his creative process the most valuable part of the book. He seems to be both incredibly creative and massively disciplined--and I found it surprising to see both traits coming out so strongly in the same person. (If that's the secret to success, I'm in big trouble.) In any case, some ...more
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, apl
A huge book that gives exactly what it promises. A day at El Bulli restaurant.
Lots of cool photos capturing the atmosphere and the creative processes and the daily logistics of how El Bulli worked (the restaurant has since shut down, for owners' desire rather than financial need).
El Bulli was one of the most famous and fanciest restaurants, and I tried to get a reservation there for a few years. I've only had luck in enjoying glimpses in Bourdain's shows, and maybe one day... we'll get some tast
Nov 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone that eats
Recommended to David by: Chef
A Day at elBulli is the quintessential foodie bible. Ferran Adria takes the reader, if we can be called mere readers with this amazing and beautiful book, into a single day at his restaurant. The pages are not numbered but by the use of a time-stamp at the top of each page, we are let in to witness the activies of the restaurant.

As a professional chef myself, I use this book for inspiration in my daily work. When I'm not trying some of the recipes Adria and his team have come up with, I'm using
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: any aspiring chefs or cooks interested in new ways of organizing menus and ideas
Shelves: food
Back in the late fall of 2008 I attended a discussion with Ferran and Harold McGee and this terrific lunatic of a bore Corby Kummer (who proceeded to direpect the Chef and try and derail the conversation the whole evening). That evening I found a new respect for his philosophy of creativity and food. Later in the month I actually sat down and read through all the narrative in the book and was impressed with the style and organization of his mind as well. There is a fire burning in this chef's mi ...more
Apr 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Gastronomes, food lovers, photographers, and friends
As the title states, we follow the most acclaimed chef in the world, Ferran Adria, as he and his staff prepare for a day at his restaurant along La Costa Brava. The book is a revealing look at the process and work involved in creating a menu based on what is known as molecular gastronomy by its foremost practitioner. The coffee table format and thickness translate to many gorgeous and telling photos, leaving you with the sense of being a reporter who has been granted full access. Recipes of that ...more
Douglas Larson
Feb 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
The author of this book is a famous chef in Spain and is regarded by some as the greatest chef in the world. Having read through some of his recipes, I would agree that his creative uses of food is certainly cutting edge and somewhat remarkable. But I have not tried any of this chef's recipes myself so I cannot speak directly to their quality or taste experience.

This cookbook, however, I found only slightly interesting. Some cookbooks, this one included, have tons of narrative about the evoluti
Nov 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A pretty exhaustive account of, as the title says, a day at elBulli. The photos alone are drool-inducing stuff for food porn addicts like myself, and the behind the scenes bits are interesting, although there's a fair amount of padding; do we really need a double page spread of a dozen photos of some guy opening the gate to the car park? But what really makes it worthwhile is the text explaining Adria's culinary philosophy and methods. For the moment this is going to have to do until I manage to ...more
Nov 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
My brother-in-law, an aspiring chef, recently gave us A Day at eBulli as a gift. The book is photo journal day in the life of this famous restaurant. To be honest it took me a while to pick it up. It quite literally weighs a ton, and the cover wrap that proclaimed “Best chef in the world” and “Best restaurant in the world” had me put off a bit.

What I expected to see what narcissistic food porn, but was surprised to find a story of authenticity, innovation and creativity disguised as a coffee tab
Cara Byrne
Jan 11, 2015 added it
Recommended to Cara by: Chongyeob
Not being well-versed in fine cuisine or twentieth century international contemporary art, I had never heard of Adria nor of his huge contributions to the world of food and experimental dining design, as well to linking the creativity of culinary arts to fine art. After seeing an exhibition on his drawings at MOCA Cleveland (, I was interested in el Bulli -which is consistently named one of the best restaurants in the world - so this book was a great way ...more
Mar 09, 2009 rated it liked it
3 1/2 to 4 stars for this fascinating and large book. The food was kind of beyond me, but it was thrilling to read about the creative process and theory behind the restaurant and these amazing little dishes.

Also, the way the book is put together is just really neat. Between the text and pictures it is effective in creating an immersive and informative experience. For me anyway! I was intrigued the whole time :)
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At this point, reading about elBulli is like reading about a place you'll never go--especially if you weren't able to get to Chicago for Next Restaurant's recreation/homage to the Catalan restaurant. And just as you'll never go to elBulli, you'll probably never make a single recipe out of this book. But that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile; in a way, it's a beautiful fantasy, a slice of time in a place that has since changed.
Ali Al-sarraf
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you are a food enthusiast and know Ferran Adria and his contribution in cooking. Then this book is a must to have in your cooking book collection. I have to say, its hard to make most of the recipes but it give you a hint that nothing is impossible in life. You only need the imagination and the spirit to break all the boundaries of creativity.
My favourite quote from the book "Ambition without patience is a dangerous thing."

Enjoy it.
Peggy Lo
Jan 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, food
His biography alluded to this but he is incredibly disciplined about his creativity, and this reinforces that. It's also amazing to see how much organization goes into running the restaurant and getting the dishes to all the tables. It's a nice overview of his day and some ideas/techniques used at the restaurant. There are also a few recipes but I don't think I'll be trying them any time soon.
Ned Stenger White
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
gorgeously presented and literally VERY heavy, this book did make my head spin with the intricacies of these dishes and Ferran and crew's obsession with attention to detail. a sumptuous feast.

have cooked for a living for 25 years, i really enjoyed this, especially as its the closest i'll ever come to eating there. (fine dining would be a useful experience for the 'Brainstorm' machine!)
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic. I am so awed by these chefs abilities to create. The techniques that they use, the techniques they create, is inspiring. It is much less a cookbook and much more a book about creative expression.
Now if I only had 200euro to eat there!
If I ever get the chance to eat here, this book would be very helpful to get a glimpse into just what went into the experience. Fascinating. but the recipes are useless unless I have an endless supply of gelling agents, a staff & a good liquid nitrogen supplier. ...more
Ewan Hendo Henderson
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Do you ever finish a book like this? This is a masterpiece and with incredible precision the account and breakdown of the el bulli experience, every section is a new discovery. Its more a life's work of 80 chefs than a book, quite incredible.
Ricardo Marcos
As the title says, it is a book for people interested in knowing who a day at elBulli was, mostly with pictures and comments. There are some detailed descriptions inside the book too, but nothing too detailed. Interesting book.
M.D. Backes
Nov 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Overview of the creative process of a culinary savant.
Dec 16, 2008 marked it as to-read
Another "foodie" book.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I would have enjoyed more about the food and less business minutia. Also, it was really absurdly heavy. But as a monument to insanity, it is splendid.
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting ideas on cooking, the creative passage, devlopment of technique. Hopefully not the closest thing i will get to elbulli in my lifetime.
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Foodie tech, and what it's all about . . .
Aug 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookin
wow those people are crazy, also half of the menu is foam of some sort, now i know this is very hep right now but i dont want to eat anything that looks like a plateful of semen.
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One of the world's top chefs, Ferran Adrià Acosta (born May 14, 1962) headed the restaurant elBulli, joining the staff in 1984 and rapidly progressing to become head chef. Famous for his pioneering culinary techniques, he has been applauded—and imitated—around the world, and won three Michelin stars for elBulli, along with many other accolades. Since elBulli's closure in 2011, Ferran has been lect ...more

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