weekly wrap-up & atelier’s elBulli tribute dinner

Oh what a week I have had!

First … I was on TV. Yep. I was on ctv ottawa morning baking some tomato soup spiced cupcakes with goat cheese frosting. I’m gonna blog about that. I promise. But I want to play around with that recipe just a bit more (beware friends & family … you’ll have some more cupcakes to sample this weekend).

Second … I reached my goal for the Ride the Rideau Ottawa Hospital Foundation – I’m currently @ $1750 … and counting. ONE MORE DAY PEOPLE. Feel free to donate :0) (I’ll blog about all the baking I’ll be doing for my sponsors).

Third … I got an “all access pass” to Atelier’s elBulli tribute dinner. It was so cool. Seriously rad.

This all started over twitter (it seems a lot starts on twitter) with this …Marc responded with deal.

And that’s how I ended up in atelier’s kitchen on Wednesday night. Surrounded by probably the calmest group of chefs. EVER. And the most intense (that would be Luis. And I mean it as a compliment). Before continuing you should know … I didn’t eat all 20 courses. I sampled bits and pieces of only some of them … I really was there simply as an observer (well I did start issuing orders around course 17) … so I’m not writing this as a review. Heck no! I’m just showing you what 4 days of prep, and 3 hours of service leads too.

Plus … since the meal sold out in 2 days (after Marc posted that first, and only, tweet) – this will allow anyone who wanted to attend, and couldn’t, the opportunity to check out some pretty insane food.

You might notice that I don’t have a picture for all 20 courses … two of them just didn’t happen. The Grapefruit and Basil Mojito (first course) was a table service (and I stayed in the kitchen) and the Frozen Chocolate Air seemed to leave the kitchen before I even noticed and took a picture. It is what it is :0)

beet ribbons with vinegar powder & ground black pepper

spherical raviolo of peas and minty pea salad (iberian ham fat scratching)frozen charcoal of duck foie grasrhubarb with light brown sugar & black peppercarrot air with bitter coconut milk and madras curry powderdoritos croquant polvoron with lime pearlssamphire with coconut milk and aromatic toucheshazelnut shots

I tasted these. They tasted like bland hazelnuts. Tossed in their own skin. seriously. The hazelnuts were creamed and then tossed in liquid nitrogen to form the mini nibs … they needed salt. snails with hazelnut soup and black pepper air

thaw (espresso sponge cake, yogurt jelly, star anise, fennel, lemon leaves, lemon thyme, rosemary flowers, thyme flowers, broom flowers, borage flowers, purple shiso shoots, rose sugar, lemon sorbet, water powder)

I love this dish. JUST LOOK AT IT!!!!! It’s awesome. The guys plated it so well. And … well it was cool cuz they were so excited about it too.ham consomme with melon beads

This was Matt’s dish (visiting chef) – I have to say … the iberian ham cosomme was salty wonderfulness. Like … REALLY wonderful – rich, salty, warming. Yum. corn soup with popcorn powder

As soon as Marc pulled out the bucket of popcorn powder, all I could smell was popcorn. Salty, buttery popcorn. This powder might have brought those images to mind, but it certainly wasn’t salty or buttery. Nope. It was airy. My picture doesn’t do this dish justice though … the corn purée was topped with a rectangle of butter, which was drizzled with smoked oil and then topped with the powder. corn nitro foam with black truffle and foie gras airraviolo/mozzarella chewing gum

I loved this. It was so much fun. After we plated all the dishes, Marc torched the remaining squares for us in the kitchen … one by one we each popped a piece in our mouths. And one by one, you could hear us all start to giggle. This dish just made me laugh. It was hilarious. It really WAS like chewing gum. Was it the most amazing, flavourful thing I’ve ever tasted? No. But it was probably the funnest thing I’ve ever had. I mean … how often do YOU giggle when you take a bite of something????spherical balloons of rose water with lychee

Loved this. The flavours were bright and wonderful. A lychee base, chili oil, ginger, mint, lime, and the amusing rose water balloons. I saw them get plated, so I knew that they weren’t solid … and yet, it was still a surprise when I put one in my mouth and it popped. The rose water just exploded in my mouth, mixing with the lychee and chilli and lime. It was unlike anything I’ve tried before. LOVED.two tone carrot and beet snaps

It tasted of carrot. A lot. :0) But it sure was pretty. And über delicate.

nitro meringue of strawberries and cream

I heart this course. I mean … strawberry meringue dipped in liquid nitrogen, tossed in cream, and then re-dipped in liquid nitrogen. The one I ate was cold. And crunchy. A hint of strawberry. It was so cool. LOVED.mini spheres of mango with vanilla ice cream

I only sampled the mango. Did you know that they exploded in your mouth? I didn’t. I don’t know why my brain is so slow to catch on sometimes … but I was certainly slow on the uptake with this one. It made me smile. A burst of mango in my mouth. Awesome. That vanilla ice cream looked pretty sweet too :0)

**Thank you Marc for allowing me in the kitchen. And to Luis, Jason, Murray, Matt, and Daniel – thanks for putting up with me while you plated each course. You guys were amazing.