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El Bulli: Cooking In Progress (2011)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 6

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 609

My Rating

Movie Info

For six months of the year, renowned Spanish chef Ferran AdriÓ closes his restaurant El Bulli and works with his culinary team to prepare the menu for the next season. An elegant, detailed study of food as avant-garde art, El Bulli: Cooking In Progress is a tasty peek at some of the world's most innovative and exciting cooking; as AdriÓ himself puts it, "the more bewilderment, the better!" --(C) Alive Mind

Mar 27, 2012


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All Critics (45) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (18) | DVD (1)

For those of us who don't have an deep interest in freeze-drying, 'El Bulli' is astonishingly, sub-'Masterchef' dull.

July 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You leave "Cooking in Progress" with respect for a man who followed his vision, and with fascination at the idea of food as artistic expression.

December 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you're passionate (and open-minded) about food, you'll be fascinated.

November 10, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If your idea of fine dining is pumpkin meringue sandwiches, bone marrow tartare with oysters, tea shrimp with caviar anemones, and ice vinaigrette with tangerines and green olive, then by all means make haste to El Bulli.

September 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Offers a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes at the Spanish restaurant hailed as the most influential eatery in the world.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

We're made to marvel at slow-cooked, freeze-dried, unappetizingly bagged food, the way some mushrooms, when delicately sliced, evoke fruit and some crustaceans resemble side-sleeping snooze-bar slappers.

August 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not only does the food look barely edible but the film is remarkably unilluminating about the history of the restaurant, the characters or those who ate there.

July 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

The result is hypnotic rather than instructive and, like TV cookery programmes, it's a cinematic experience resembling lap dancing overseen by a duenna.

July 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

There is no doubting that even this overlong examination of culinary expertise and experimentation will become a classic.

July 27, 2012 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

There are enough outbreaks of culinary weirdness to keep true enthusiasts distracted.

July 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

As an advertisement for the restaurant, this works well, but the issues - the art of cuisine and cuisine as art - are not discussed very thoroughly.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian

"Make it magical," AdriÓ often urges his acolytes, and it's advice Wetzel would have done well to heed.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

The dishes stream past our eyes and noses, exposing one of the film's two deficiencies. We need scratch'n'taste cards for all this, don't we?

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Chopping, frying, tasting... A snooze-bouche.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of culinary science and it's hard not to marvel at the skill and expertise on display, but the fly-on-the-wall style strips the film of context and it ultimately becomes a little dull.

July 25, 2012 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

A mix of the fascinating and the frustrating...

July 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Although we get little of the flavour of the man behind the restaurant, Wetzel captures the essence of AdriÓ's process of sublime culinary creation.

July 16, 2012 Full Review Source: The List
The List

Legendary chef Ferran AdriÓ's philosophising about pushing new food frontiers is fascinating, but barely glimpsed, so keen is the film on recording the appliance of science to innocent ingredients.

July 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

...will appeal to two types of people: those with a deep and highly specific interest in the art of cooking, and those interested in extreme craftsmanship as practiced in any line of work

February 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Playback:stl

A rather elegantly simplistic and hands-off exploration of food as avant-garde art that cooks up all sorts of elemental yearnings in the tastebuds of viewers.

October 24, 2011 Full Review Source:

Even docs need a third act.

October 18, 2011 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

Director Wetzel doesn't so much explain the surreal mindset of AdriÓ as he does simply hang out and film the proceedings. But seriously, what revolutionary proceedings they are.

October 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

It's intermittently fascinating, but this strictly fly-on-the-wall doco sometimes feels tedious and soulless.

October 11, 2011 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

Audience Reviews for El Bulli: Cooking In Progress

I'm a sucker for a cookery program and I like going to nice restaurants and I also like good documentaries and clever film making. I was tricked damn it, as this was one of the dullest documentaries I've ever seen. The documentary process is very hands off, it's a point and shoot film but considering they must have spent a whole year with the chiefs I'm surprised that the final edited hour and forty minutes is the best material they could come up with. It is basically watching 4 chiefs from behind talking about oils and mushrooms, not being able to see any of the food and then watching an old man eat. It's only in the end credits that we see the creations they've made which raises the question why didn't they show them creating/making those dishes? I would have liked to have eaten there but if it meant watching this again I'd have to pass. Beyond dull.
October 10, 2012

Super Reviewer

Taking the word "documentary" incredibly literally, EL BULLI: COOKING IN PROGRESS is a document of the food development process at a cutting edge Spanish restaurant. The chef closes the restaurant for six months so he and his team can create the molecular gastronomy wonders that makes his restaurant so strange and popular. But because the film is unfiltered by the filmmaker in any way, he just points the camera at them and watches, very little emerges, except for the fact that this food seems very strange, and as far as I can tell, kind of off-putting. There's time spent in the lab, then time spent at the restaurant premiering the dishes, but all I learned is that weird food can be served in tiny little bites and still look beautiful but sort of inedible. In the end it left me wanting to cook some Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and watch CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS - food and a documentary, American style.
August 4, 2011
Jeff Talbott

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (DE)
  • El Bulli -- Cooking in Progress (UK)
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