The same technique is used to create Mugaritz's famous walnut dessert, which is served on a scoop of goat's-milk ice cream.

The 2011 StarChefs chefs’ congress was a three-day whirl of culinary innovations, but one of the particular treats was getting to watch Andoni Luis Aduriz do his thing. The chef of Spain’s Mugaritz restaurant has melded technology and cuisine in an unceasingly playful way, garnering stars and prizes that I won’t bother to enumerate. At the congress, he walked a rapt audience through several of his clever preparations — in particular, his use of silicone molds to create trompe-l’oeil dishes.

See the highlights.


Aduriz and his team make these simple flatbreads with xanthan gum to firm up their structure. The idea is to make it “so crunchy that it’s near the boundary of pleasure and pain.” Safe to say it was the crunchiest flatbread I’ve ever tried.

Crunchy Sauce

Aduriz makes a savory, rich pork broth, high in gelatin content so it’s especially unctuous — then cooks it down with kuzu (arrowroot) starch until it becomes a crisp cracker. When you eat it, though, the transformation is miraculously reversed. After a crunch or two, the crisp wafer dissolves into a luxurious sauce that fills your mouth.


This is just an ordinary egg, right?

Faux Egg

Not exactly. Chef Aduriz was inspired to invent a trompe-l’oeil egg after a meal he had in Japan. He mixes white coloring into mannitol, a sugar with a high melting point, and swirls a precisely measured amount to coat the inside of an egg-shaped mold. When the sugar cools, he opens the mold and inside is his artificial eggshell.


The restaurant makes its molds out of food-safe silicone.


The same technique is used to create Mugaritz’s famous walnut dessert, which is served on a scoop of goat’s-milk ice cream.

Inside the Walnut

The nut shell is made of chocolate, and it’s filled with Armagnac jelly.