Ever since legendary modernist chef Ferran Adrià told the world about his Bullipedia project — and that was back in 2012 — his fans and the food world in general have mostly been left to wonder what it is. What is a “techno-emotional cooking encyclopedia” anyway? And what does his so-called Sapiens project have to do with it?
Originally conceived of as “world’s first culinary Wiki,” an online database which would “hold every bit of gastronomic knowledge ever uncovered,” Adrià now tells Eater that there will be 35 books of 500 pages each to be released in the next four years. The first volume, Bebidas, a Spanish-language tome devoted to drinks (and their “definition, history, types, and composition,” as the subtitle translates), launched in November 2017 and is currently on sale for €76.92 ($94.19 USD).
“It’s the biggest encyclopedia ever made in the world, not just for food,” Adrià says. (General consensus is that Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia in human history.) “Our goal is to share all the knowledge we have been researching about food and all the other issues that are related to that.”
Here’s what to expect, based on the official website (translations via Google):
• Two more volumes dedicated to drinks in general are expected in 2018; one focusing on products made with drinks, the other, Bebidas Vol. III, will focus on “use in the gastronomic restaurant.” There will also be additional books dedicated to wine and to cocktails this year.
• Additionally in 2018, three books fall under the Productos no Elaborados title, meaning “unprocessed products,” and in 2019, three more under the Productos Elaborados title, meaning “processed products.” For both topics, the volumes will cover: “what are they and how are they classified;” “their history in gastronomic restoration;” and their “use in the gastronomic restaurant.”
• One book will cover the Paleolithic and Neolithic era, also due in 2018. Per its subtitle, this will be a “history of gastronomic restoration.”
In total, the website lists an impressive 12 Bullipedia titles, and Adrià says the next releases will come in April, May, June, and July of this year. Still, that leaves some 20-plus books to produce. He mentions coffee and types of cuisines as future topics to tackle.
Adrià is no stranger to encyclopedic book making. He recently published a seven-volume series on his groundbreaking restaurant El Bulli, elBulli 2005-2011. Even with that under his belt, he wonders if Bullipedia isn’t “also the most ambitious project of culinary studies ever.” (Sorry, Modernist Cuisine.) If the pricing continues apace, it will certainly be one of the most expensive — even if the project stops at the 12 listed titles, if each is roughly €75, that puts the entire set at €900, or about $1,102. If it goes up to 35, that would bring the potential grand total to over $3,000.
”Making a book is very demanding and we are doing 35! You can imagine all the work involved,” he explains. Now that Bullipedia has been revealed to be mostly just a ton of books, imagining the work of it is actually easier now than it’s ever been.
By Hillary Dixler
February 12, 2018
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