When elBulli closed its doors in 2011, it marked the passing of an institution whose patrons were drawn like pilgrims from around the world to its location in northeastern Spain. Elected best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine an unprecedented five times, elBulli was--and will be again when it reopens as a culinary think tank in 2014--the laboratory of Ferran Adrià, the maverick creator of molecular gastronomy. The Sorcerer’s Apprentices reveals, for the first time, the remarkable system of apprentices that Adrià used to run his restaurant and, in the process, train the next generation of culinary stars.
Behind each of the thirty or more courses that made up a meal at elBulli was a small army of stagiaires--young cooks who did the work of executing Adrià’s vision in exchange for the chance to learn at his hands. Granted unprecedented access to this guild system, Lisa Abend followed the thirty-five stagiaires of the 2009 season as they struggled to master the grueling hours, cutting-edge techniques, and interpersonal tensions that came with working at the most revered restaurant on Earth. What emerges is an irresistible tale of aspiring young talents caught, for good or ill, in the opportunity of a lifetime: creating the ultimate dining experience.