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After Adrià: Aduriz and the Quest for Kitchen Values
Foods from Spain New York, 2001, (1,335 words; adapted and updated 2013)
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Adrià's commitment, generally linked to artists, provoked a wave of comparisons with Spanish painters, above all Salvador Dalí. Are these relevant? Adrià had something useful to say on the subject in his introduction to a book called Food by Design (2002,Booth-Clibborn Editions): "Cookery is cookery, no more and no less, …." But he added, crucially, that cooking for the public, not home cooking, is a mix of art and craft.
Adrià´s commitment, generally compared to that of artists, provoked a wave of comparisons with Spanish painters, above all Salvador Dalí. Are these relevant?
That, for me, brings to mind a different and more useful set of comparisons.
I am thinking of artists working in their own area of popular culture. For example, film-maker Pedro Almodóvar, who, like Adrià, has worked far from the meccas of his professional world, developing techniques on his own terms on home ground, lovingly kneading the ingredients of everyday Spanish life into films that have a universal power. He has marked a path for an exceptional young generation, each empowered to go their own way - Alejandro Amanébar, J.A.Bayona, Fernando León and Isabel Coixet, to name just three.
A trio of great flamenco innovators come to mind: guitarist Paco de Lucía, singer Enrique Morente, who died tragically in 2010, and dancer Eva Yerbabuena. All of them, researching flamenco deeply, have served it back to audiences as compelling contemporary performance. They, too, have fostered younger generations of guitarists, cantaores (singers) and bailaores (dancers).
Finally, there are the photographers, like Cristina García Rodero, whose shots lay bare collective popular culture in a profoundly moving way. Like the cooks, the film-makers and the flamencos García Rodero was self-taught yet dedicated much time to teaching. Her work, like theirs, is made compelling by perspective as much as content. She too, took an independent, risky path, ran down it at a furious pace and against financial odds.
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