What's it like to schedule dinner for the world's most famous chef? Fraught with anxiety and, at times, not as easy as you'd think. Over on Roads & Kingdoms, Howard Chua-Eoan describes the nine dinners he has shared with elBulli's Ferran Adrià, six of which Chua-Eoan was responsible for planning: "Every time I receive a message that Ferran Adrià is coming to visit New York, I panic." So what's a fixer to do? Call Nobu. As in Chef Matsuhisa.
Chua-Eoan managed to pull off successful meals at Annisa, Ssam Bar, Red Farm, and Hanjan. Most of the meals went off fine, although all of them understandably caused considerable anxiety on the part of the chef cooking the meal and occasionally resulted in social gaffes (Adrià almost footed the bill for one large party while trying to escape a "closetalker"). A request to go to Chinatown was overruled because of language barriers and "the management would scoot us out just as Ferran and his friends were ready to relax and start their extended post-prandial conversations."
At one point, Chua-Eoan had to make last minute Nobu reservations on a Friday, and the hostess had no idea who Adrià was. The chef's response? "Are you sure you called Nobu?...Call Nobu. He should be in Los Angeles." Guess that works for some people.