El Bulli has been called "the most influential restaurant in the world" (The New York Times, June 15, 2011) and Ferran Adrià, its creator, deemed a brilliant innovator, the father of molecular gastronomy, or sometimes just a crazy chef. Located a few hours drive from Barcelona, El Bulli closes each year for six months, as Adrià and staff sequester themselves to concentrate on creating the new culinary wonders that will become their next 30-course menu. The restaurant accommodates only 50 for dinner, despite two million annual requests for reservations. This is cooking as avant-garde art: a cocktail composed of hazelnut oil, salt, and water or a dessert of freeze-dried peppermint and ice shavings. Surrounded by bizarre hi-tech equipment, elaborate containers, chopping blocks and knives, they experiment with making mushroom juice and sweet potato meringue.