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What is the Subrosa Social Club? (or) The Avant-Garde Loves You

March 13th, 2009 by Colin Rafferty

margarita at elBulli

margarita at elBulli

The best restaurant in the world is located in the small Catalonian town of Roses; it is called elBulli, and its head chef is a man named Ferran Adrià.  Reservations are well-nigh impossible to get; out of two million requests, 8,000 diners are seated during the six-month open period of the restaurant.

The restaurant does not serve traditional food in any sense of the word; a glance at the catalogue of dishes for 2005 reveals ice cream nigiri served on lime marshmallow, baby monkfish with lemon-scented egg yolk, and strawberry frozen air.

Adrià has written a manifesto for his restaurant; point number 14: “The classical structure of dishes is being broken down: a veritable revolution is underway in first courses and desserts, closely bound up with the concept of symbiosis between the sweet and savoury world; in main dishes the ‘product-garnish-sauce’ hierarchy is being broken down.”

This is the goal of the Subrosa Social Club: a salon of ideas that explore the avant-garde not as a thing to be feared or respected, but as a thing to be digested, consumed.  We assume the end of realism as a given starting point, the breakdown of the mimetic as the cliff off which we jump to see if we can fly.

Think of synaesthesia:  the crossing of sense lines.  The synaesthetic sees colors, smells noises.  What can writers learn from music?  Musicians from artists?  Artists from chefs?  Chefs from architects?  Architects from writers?

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