Food / The Cuisine Artiste: Welcome to the Labyrinth of the Catalan Chef

From the first sip of the proffered aperitif at El Bulli--a frozen gin with hot lemon fizz--you know you're in for something different. Ferran Adria has won the adulation of food critics and cooks by whipping up startling combinations of texture, temperature and taste: bite-size cuttlefish ravioli that explode in a burst of coconut and ginger, soft-boiled quail egg with a crispy caramel crust, a polenta of frozen powdered Parmesan cheese, almond ice cream on a swirl of garlic oil and balsamic vinegar.

Set on an isolated beach on Spain's Catalan coast near the town of Rosas, El Bulli has become...

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