Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dear Ferran...

Each year millions of applicants wait breathless for the results of a ballot.  Not a political ballot, nor a lotto draw, but the El Bulli reservation ballot.  As Ferran Adria, head chef at El Bulli, would attest, sometimes the conventional approach is not the only way to achieve ones aspirations.  Will thinking outside the ballot help me find my way to Cala Montjoi, Roses before the iconic restaurant transforms into the El Bulli Foundation this summer? It's safe to assume not...but then, where did assumption ever get anyone?

Dear Mr Adria

My name is Miss Devour and it feels like one thousand days since my last consumption of molecular gastronomy.

It feels good to get that out in the open.

I hear you may be able to help me with my little problem.  Is this true? I hear you hold the answer.

I recognise this is not the Matrix so in typical self-help-style I’ve adopted a series of steps to help myself. There is a mantra in there somewhere...I'm still working on the catchy sentiment.


Apparently (as all of the most true statements tend to start) the once in a lifetime consumption of freeze dried foie gras on the Costa Brava is a core physiological human need.  Just ask world famous psychologist Abraham Maslow:

I think I need El Bulli, I have the love of a bully, oh to be complete and dine at El Bulli...
my hierarchy may be a little off there?
So there you have it, Maslow, hefty academic support for my current state of distraction, employment impotence and general wayward demeanour.  If only I could consume my food capsuled with gold leaf or ballooned with air, all my dreams of safety, love, belonging, esteem and self-actualisation could be met in one seaside meal.

Not quite Fact, but a distant relative of Fact.  A distant relative that Fact is ashamed to admit bloodline to.


Let’s put the absence of freeze dried foie gras in my life aside and assume for a minute that despite the skulking spectre of recession, my employment is safe.  That watching Chuck Norris infomercials keeps my body safe.  That an extra spear of slow roast pork cracking (kindly donated by my fat-conscious friend at dinner last week) in twisted-truth actually keeps my health safe.  That my parents are safely retired on yet another Baby Boomer jaunt and my well, with respect to the safety or otherwise of my property, I refer you again to the skulking spectre of recession.  Safety needs, safe.

Pork Crackling (Porteno, Sydney), keeping my body fat safe.

Where to next Maslow?

Love and Belonging

Humans need to love and be loved (sexually or otherwise).  The Beatles argued it was all we needed.  Tina Turner didn’t really get the point.  Colour Me Badd just wanted to sex anyone up regardless of love (or consonant abuse) and Deni Hines & The Rockmelons knew how to spell it.

My love at present traverses the world’s great oceans.  I recognise the grandeur of my statement, mildly (or ambitiously) evocative of a great historic love.  Alas we exist to each other only in memory.  

May I introduce to you, Montesquieu Quigley. Named after the great political philosopher of the Enlightenment and a catholic tribe (sized XXL) from the outskirts of Belfast, Northern Ireland.  My brother.  From another mother.  My brother from another species whom my actual mother considers to actually be my brother since I moved half way around the world to London.

You can take the dog out of France but you can't...
He is a bulldog.  A French bulldog.  Black.  Stumpy.  A face many question even my mother could love.  The hind quarters of a piglet with the shoulders of a minotaur…if you have an imagination.  He lives in Melbourne in a quaint little condo in my parent’s yard.

Montesquieu’s (or Monte as he is known in the business) descendants in early France strutted fancy free with the ladies of the night.  It was thought their exotic looks drew attention from passers by and allowed a segue to legitimate proposition by potential customers.  My father walks Monty daily.  I believe the only propositions he receives are cast by foxy senior’s in low-to-medium-speed buggies running late for bridge club on suburban footpaths.

I love Monte with all my heart, though our relationship is forced to exist only through the medium of photography and the odd snuffle (with a side of snort) down the international phone line.  On our next meeting I will quote Lionel Richie: “Hello, is it me you're looking for?” and present him with a rare rib-eye.  Perhaps I will keep the rib-eye for myself.  Medium-Rare.


I don’t think this the ideal forum for a person to discuss their own esteem and confidence.  This is a soliloquy I think best left to the “celebrity rehab reality TV genre” or the a post-break-up mentoring session.  In consequence, collect $100 salary as you pass Esteem.


Finally, by way of Fast Money Quiz Round, I’ll explore what Maslow considered the crowning achievement of human existence, self-actualisation.  I think he really meant dining at El Bulli.  You have sixty seconds and your time starts NOW:

Question 1:  Morality?
Answer:  Let’s keep morals and ethics aside, I love foie gras.

Question 2:  Creativity?
Answer:  Personified.  Ferran Adria.  Chef.  Scientist.  Artist.

Question 3:  Spontaneity?
Answer:  Happiness and humour.  Love at first bite.

Question 4: Problem solving?
Answer: “Two million ballot applications you say?”

Question 5:  Lack of prejudice?
Answer:  I don’t discriminate.  I love all food.  I even have an off-season-slightly-yellowed-unseasoned brussel sprout as a close friend.

Question 6:  Acceptance of facts?

Table for two, May 2011?

Enjoy and thank you,

Miss Devour x

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