Saturday with Spain’s 10 (UPDATED)

On Saturday, the 14th of October 2006, I had the privilege of attending Spain’s 10, Cocina de Vanguardia held by the French Culinary Institute at Guastavino’s in New York City.

The event, billed as a summit featuring 10 of Spain’s most prominent culinary masters, including old guard and young new talent, comprised over seven hours of demos and instruction featuring the most sophisticated cooking techniques employed in today’s cutting edge Spanish cuisine, and as well as an exhibition of Spanish food and wine products. Lunch featured a traditional Spanish tapas spread that was produced by the staff at the FCI as well as by other visiting chefs from prominent restaurants in New York City and from around the country.

Presentations at the summit combined both pre-recorded materials from DVD produced especially for the event as well as live cooking demos, which were displayed on plasma display screens in order for the audience to see them close up. Most of my photographs of the plasma video came out somewhat fuzzy but Gerald San Jose over at Foodite got some good ones with his DSLR, so I am interspersing some of his photos with mine here. Miguelina Polanco over at also got some nice shots as well. If you just want to look at everyone’s food porn, check out the “spains10” tag on Flickr.

Be sure to check out my Podcast covering the event as well.

10/23/2006: New York Magazine interview with Ferran Adria (photo supplied by yours truly)

FCI Spain’s 10 Logo (Gerald San Jose)

Main entrance at Guastavino’s (Gerald San Jose)

Click the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for comprehensive event coverage and many photos.

A view of the crowd, approximately 1000 attendees came to see Spain’s 10 (Daisy

Chef Juan Mari Arzak, of Arzak Restaurant in San Sebastian. Arzak is regarded as the father of modern Spanish Basque cuisine.

Prepping ingredients that will be cooked with an espresso machine milk steamer (Gerald San Jose)

This is a video demonstration of how Shrimp can be cooked in Apple Juice using an espresso machine.

The resulting dish.

These are leeks which have been charred in order to make the foundations for a vinaigrette with blood orange.

Grilled Pineapple dessert with CO2 Sauce

CO2 Strawberry Sauce Activates/Bubbles

Chef Enrique Martinez of Restaurant Maher in Navarra. Martinez is known for his use of vegetables with his cooking techniques.

Salt Preserved Cod (Bacalao) in a multi-vitamin vegetable broth created via a condensation technique pioneered by Martinez.

Multi-vitamin vegetable condensation broths (Gerald San Jose)

Gels made from vegetable broths

Methylcellulose is used to coagulate the gels into spherical shapes.

A deconstructionist vegetable dish.

Daniel Garcia, a young chef who comes from Andalucia and is a disciple of Martin Berasategui. He cooks at the Hotel Don Pepe in Marbella, in the South of the country.

Chef Dani cooking with dry ice.

Chef Quiqe Dacosta, who cooks in the Alicante region on the east coast of the country. Chef Dacosta is also the author of a book about Spanish Rice and the various properties of the different strains and how they can be best applied to cooking.

Hen that laid a golden egg

Foie cooked sous vide at 2 different temps, pan seared, and roasted in a steam oven topped with freeze dried sweet pepper powder. Unlike traditional methods for cooking foie, a Maillard reaction is not achieved and thus the searing of the liver does not take place, leaving a more delicate and smooth texture which Dacosta prefers.

Creamy Rice with Cherry Caviar

After Dacosta’s presentation we were served a snack of Spanish Tortilla and Cold Garlic Soup.

Garlic Soup

Garlic Soup Closeup

Tortilla closeup.

Some of the chefs posing for fan photos during the break.

Michelin 3-Star Basque Chef Martin Berasategui resumed the demos after the break.

He began by sauteing up some cockles in Txocoli, a type of acidic dry white wine from the Basque country.

Cod cheeks releasing gelatin (Gerald San Jose)

Gelatinous Cod Cheeks with Cockles

An attractive foie gras presentation.

Octopus tentacle sous vide with fennel air

I believe this was another cod presentation.

Next up was Paco Torreblanca, who is widely considered to be the finest pastry chef and confectioner in the entire industry.

Chocolate dessert

These are candy beads enclosed in sort of a “fiber optic” enclosure of sugar isomalt.

Paco demonstrates the technique onstage.

Sugar Wafer dessert

Milk Foam Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches (Gerald San Jose)

Next up was the team of Paco Roncero (right) and Alberto Chicote (left).

Chicote’s restaurant, NODO, is a showcase of Spanish-Japanese fusion. Roncero, a student of both Ferran Adria and Arzak, cooks at La Terraza del Casino in Madrid.

I realize these guys are brilliant culinary practitioners but they look like they could be a comedy team.

Fun with fire.

Some of the nice products available to the chefs onstage.

Carrot noodles (gelled with Methylcellulose) in a broth of smoked tuna essence.

Manchego water emulsified with olive oil and butter, grilled in bok choy leaves and set with methylcellulose, served over grilled bread with tuna.

Smoked Tuna Belly with Ajo Blanco Gel

After Roncero/Chicote’s presentation everyone was quite happy to indulge in some tapas. These are bread puff things with a very fishy fish inside, I think it was some kind of eel.


Another type of cheese with quince paste.

I believe these are Marcona almonds.

The “10” poses for a photo op.

The makeshift tapas bar set up by the FCI.

Stuffed Piquillo Pepper

Bread with cheese spread and almonds.

Gaspatcho with Crostini.

Steak with Cabrales Cheese and Onion Confit.

Shrimp with Romesco Sauce (Photo by Daisy

Shrimp with Romesco Sauce

Salmon over Rattatouille (Daisy


Chef Lee Ann Wong from “Top Chef” fame was here making Fideos. Lee Ann’s full time job is with the FCI.

Fideo Pasta with Saffron and Seafood.


Coffee Mousse Dessert

After the tapas break, we entered the home stretch with Chef Joan Roca, of the famed Celler de Can Roca restaurant in Catalunya. Roca is known for his extremely sophisticated techniques that involve substantial use of techological wizardry.

This is a Vacuum Distiller machine that is used to extract an essence of dirt “perfume” from Catalonian soil, to provide an earthy essence to some of his dishes.

Whisking dirt to make a distilled essence water (Gerald San Jose)

Olive wood smoke infused with paprika. Every bite of the puree releases a whif of smoke through a small hole in the saran wrap

Dirt Essence foam over an oyster “Treasure Island” (Gerald San Jose)

El Gran Finale of course was Ferran Adria, of the famed El Bulli restaurant near Barcelona.

Adria is mesemerizing just to watch, let alone listen to.

During his presentation, Adria discussed the evolution of various techniques, such as misting/foaming and the creation of different types of gelled aspics, using Alginates, then Soya Lecithin, Methylcellulose and then finally Calcium Chloride.

Demonstration of Adria’s earliest technique for jellified aspics (Daisy

Like Roca, many of Adria’s techniques involve the use of specialized and sophisticated equipment. Here we are being shown how olive oil can be made into gelatinized capsules.

These are shells of Coconut Milk which are frozen using liquid Nitrogen and then freeze dried.

Here Adria demonstrates on how to make leaves out of mango puree.


9 Responses to Saturday with Spain’s 10 (UPDATED)

  1. Jason,

    What is the story/ etc with the book Adria is holding?


  2. […] Related Off The Broiler Article: Saturday with Spain’s 10 (click)  […]

  3. Mary B Olinga says:

    Hi Jason
    Can you recommend a place in New York to find authentic ingredients from Spain, similar to that online place but brick and mortar?
    M. Olinga

  4. Not in NYC, but in the Newark NJ area, in Belleville, there is a Spanish goods importer, Ole Ole Warehouse, which has an open house one Saturday each month where you can go into their warehouse and buy and taste stuff. Prices are excellent too, you can get big tins of Mancha grade saffron for like $40. Ole Foods
    54 Schuyler Street
    Belleville, NJ 07109
    Tel 973.759.0333
    Fax 973.759.0375

  5. jtfortin says:

    That post was great…I’ll bet that was a very cool event to be at.

  6. […] If you are at all fascinated with Ferran Adria’ and the other chef-scientists who are taking cooking to new and unique places by playing around with all kinds of scientific shit, check out this post by Jason Perlow over at Off The Broiler.  It features a bunch of photos from a presentation by Spain’s most prominent chefs called Spain’s 10 at the French Culinary Institute.  The photos look like the event was part science class, part cooking school demo, and park rock concert with 9 chefs warming up the crowd for Adria,the headlining act.   The pictures are very interesting and there is a corresponding podcast, which I will try to listen to tonight.   […]

  7. Bux says:


    Check out Despaña, 408 Broome Street (212-219-5050) between Lafayette and Centre Streets (around the corner from Room4Dessert, Will Goldfarb’s dessert bar) for Spanish products in Manhattan, or at 86-17 Northern Boulevard in Queens ( 718-779-4971). They are importers and wholesalers of Spanish food products as well as manufacturers of chorizos and other products here in the US.


    Nice job. Those are some lovely shots. They bring back fond memories of meals in Spain. The “10” are just the tip of the culinary vanguard ice berg, and maybe not even the full tip. Yes, those appear to be marcona almonds, although somehow I recall them being even wider or fatter, but are those sardines? They look more like boquerones–anchovies preserved in vinegar, rather than olive oil or salt as the anchovies more commonly found in the US are. In general, the boquerones and the anchoas from Spain (either the Bay of Biscay or the Mediterranean) are meatier than the ones usually imported here. Boquerones are far more perishable.

    The best examples of boquerones I’ve had in the US came not from retail shops, but from the kitchens of top restaurants, Daniel and Blue Hill in particular. However, Despaña has some top quality packaged boquerones from Spain. They are lightly marinated and, as I recall, cost something like $110 for a kilo. They’re small. A little can go a long way and worth trying even at that price.

  8. […] Spain’s top 10 chefs, including Ferran Adria of El Bulli, were featured at the “Spain’s 10 – Cocina de Vanguardia” in New York. Off the broiler and foodite have nice reports. I particularly fancy their pictures, depicting how laboratory equipment, liquid nitrogen and dry ice is used more and more in restaurant kitchens. I have described a number of tools in this static page. Here’s a couple of pictures from Off the broiler (with my comments added): […]

  9. […] Just  on the heels of the Spain’s 10 Event at the FCI, and having had a taste of some really good tapas there, I had a hankering for some more. I had heard many good things about Alex Ureña’s food through a number of sources, including my friend Daisy Martinez who told me quite bluntly in her Brooklyn way,  “his food is off the hook” and I had to go and try it, post haste.  This particular Thursday evening at the restaurant though was the monthly meeting of the Brazilian Society, and it was going to feature $5 tapas and $6 Caipirinhas at the bar made with the very good and artisinally made Fazenda Mae de Ouro cachaca. I don’t need much of an excuse to drink Caipirinhas on a Thursday night, much less eat the cuisine of a former sous chef at Bouley and Blue Hill. […]

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