Mugaritz

“Without a doubt the artistic discipline that is closest to our way of understanding gastronomy is music,” says Andoni Luis Aduriz, chef of the trailblazing San Sebastian restaurant Mugaritz. “With our dishes we aim to provoke, to move, to invoke a revolution of the senses, and I cannot see any difference between this and the reasons that drive someone to compose a suite or to get up on stage to give a concert.” It makes sense, then, that five years ago Aduriz got together with the musician Felipe Ugarte to further explore that connection. The result of the effort, in which the musician drew inspiration from the test kitchen and the chef took his cues from the studio, is Mugaritz B.S.O. — an album, a documentary on the collaborative process, and a recently released book that includes the CD, the movie, recipes, and stories and poems from author Harkaitz Cano. The package is now available in limited supply.

Mugaritz B.S.O. is unabashedly arty, yes, but in typical Aduriz fashion, it doesn’t lack for thoughtfulness and rigor. If any chef can pull off entering the often treacherous and frivolous world of interdisciplinary artistic exploration, it’s him. It also doesn’t lack for Basque-ness: Aduriz, Ugarte, and Cano are all from the same region of Spain. In a text he crafted for the project, Aduriz wrote that “The principal aim was to show how ideas developed and how culinary creation was transformed into musical creation by exploiting the vast range of colours, plasticity and textures common to both worlds, gastronomy and music. Quality, sensitivity and synthesis, which in many respects are the hallmarks of Mugaritz, were the central themes of the project.”

mugaritz

Here’s the breakdown:

The Music: this is the main focus of the project — to see how dishes and the cooking process can translate into music. The album’s tracks were recorded over the course of several years and represent different styles. The team took trips to Peru and Africa during the process, and much of that comes through in the music.

The Movie: a film that documents the making of B.S.O, directed by Juantxo Sardon and Ugarte. It’s been screened at several film festivals around the world, but this is the first time it’s available for purchase.

The Recipes: at the back of the book are twelve recipes for classic Mugaritz dishes which inspired the music. Among them are Aduriz’s edible stones, a carpaccio of vegetables, and cod cheek and tripe stew. These also appear in the Mugaritz Phaidon book, which was released last year. Aduriz discussed that text, as well as the question of chefs being interested in disciplines other than cooking, in an Eater interview.

The Writing: poems and stories from Harkaitz Cano, who recently won the Basque Literature Prize. There’s everything from an explanation of sea urchin therapy and its history to a poem titled “11 Spells to Tame the Herd With.”

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