All posts filed under “Videos

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Ferran Adria – speaking at Google and his new book

In late September I was lucky enough to be able to hear Ferran Adria speak at Google, and also get a copy of his new cookbook.  Ferran is one of the most famous chefs in the world; though lesser known in the US/UK since he doesn’t speak English and doesn’t have TV shows.  His restaurant (elBulli) was named the best restaurant in the world for four years straight.

What Ferran is really known for is his creativity.  He pioneered “molecular gastronomy”, where chefs do absolutely crazy stuff to create new flavors and textures.  But unlike other chefs, he did this not just with the food but with the entire restaurant!  In order to have the time available to be creative, he shut the restaurant down for half the year.  In order to have time to be creative even when they were open, they shut for lunch.

His talk was all about creativity, and was recorded below.  It’s pretty slow to watch, since he’s speaking Spanish and everything is translated live.  But if you’re interested at all in food, cooking and creativity, he has a thought-provoking perspective on creativity.

I sat next to a woman who practices “visual notetaking” and grabbed her notes from the talk from Flickr.  (Click image to get to the original)  Ferran’s talk is the bottom part of the page, under the dotted line.:

Ferran Adria talking about Creativity @ Authors at Google

The points from her notes are clear.  His definition of creativity is simple: not copying.  Some forms of creativity are more simple, such as new ingredients in an omelette.  Others are more complex, like re-defining what an omelette can be.

Another key perspective is that creativity depends on production.  If you can’t breathe life into your idea (or at least give it a go!), then it’s debatable if you were ever creative at all.

Finally, we all got/bought copies of his newest book, “The Family Meal.”  I heartily recommend it.  The recipes are what the staff at elBulli restaurant would eat before restaurant service.

There are a few awesome things about this book:

  • The recipes are laid out as 31 complete 3-course meals (starter, main, dessert).  One month of meals, with a lot of variety amongst them.
  • Each meal gives you ingredient portions for 2 people (yay! for couple portions), 6 people, 20 people, or 75 people.
  • It’s a picture book; each recipe is on two pages; ~15 photos for each recipe showing what it should look like at each step of preparation
  • Each three-course meal has an outline of when you need to start each major step of preparation (2 hours before, 30 minutes before, night before, etc.
  • Each three-course meal also has a condensed list of ingredients, and what should be bought fresh, what you should fine in the cupboard, and what you should find in the refrigerator.
  • There’s some great advice on different preparation techniques that’s invaluable for home chefs (like me) that don’t have a formal cooking education

Again, I highly recommend his book and the video above; Ferran thinks about creativity on a different level from nearly anyone else.

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Google+

If you haven’t heard, Google+ has launched.  It’s the start of Google’s social projects, and it looks like it’s already the start of something big.  (>10million users in <2 weeks!)

If you’re interested, you can follow me on Google+ here.

EDIT:  I’ve also done some magic so you can go to my Google+ profile by going to http://jedchristiansen.com/+

Awesome video on startups, entrepreneurship, business

This has absolutely nothing to do with Google+, but if you’ve got an hour, I highly recommend watching the video below.  It’s Kevin Rose (founder of Digg) interviewing Chris Sacca, one of the most interesting investors in Silicon Valley today.  (He was one of the first investors in Twitter, for example.)

Chris has long had a great reputation amongst entrepreneurs, and from this video I can completely understand why.

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Paul Simon – a true master

Whether or not you like Paul Simon’s music, I think everyone can agree he’s a hugely accomplished musician, songwriter, and performer.  I still can’t believe it’s been 25 years since his legendary album “Graceland” was completed.

But what made him a real legend in my eyes was the news about a concert last month in Canada.  In between a couple of songs, some people in the audience cried out asking him to play “Duncan”, a song from an album he released in 1972.  He agreed to, even though he was throwing his setlist out the window.  But then the most amazing thing happened.

A woman right up front yelled out that she had learned to play guitar by playing “Duncan.”  Paul Simon motioned for her to come up on stage.  The next thing you know, he was not only throwing his setlist out the window, but putting his guitar in her hands!  She played the entire song, right up front, on Paul Simon’s guitar.  And of course, it was all caught on YouTube:

Paul Simon has to be a true legend and gentleman to stand back and give a completely unknown fan the spotlight.  A real heartwarming experience, and I’m just glad it was caught on video so the rest of us could enjoy it, too!

[more on the CBC, which has an interview with Rayna, the woman in the video]