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Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Today I stay with the food theme and a strange tale from Gerona.
Has he disappeared or simply run off without paying the bill at one of the world’s top restaurants? That is the question faced by the Mossos d’Esquadra investigating the case of the would-be restaurant reviewer and the famed ‘El Bulli’.

It is seven weeks since Swiss messenger turned writer Henry Pascal went missing. The 46-year-old was having a meal at the gourmet restaurant when he went outside to get some business cards and never returned. The photograph shows him minutes before he disappeared.

The avoidance of paying the bill is one theory but the director of ‘El Bulli’, Juli Soler, doubts it. Pascal left behind on the table his notes on the meal as well as a book that contained, written in hand, the menus of the various top restaurants he had visited on his tour. Soler observed: “If he is writing a book, his notes are here.”

It is understood that Pascal, who worked as a messenger, was using his savings to visit the 68 restaurants in the world that had three stars in the prestigious Michelin guide. He visited ‘El Bulli’ on June 12 and has a reservation in Arzak in San Sebastían two days later but never arrived.

A meal in ‘El Bulli’ costs around 230 euros and the Spanish daily, El País, estimates that the tour undertaken by Pascal would cost 17,000 euros on meals alone. ‘El Bulli’ was the 40 th restaurant that he had visited since starting his tour on May 5 visiting establishments in Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Spain.

It is believed that Pascal travelled by motorbike and now both the Spanish Police and Interpol are desperately looking for him.

The famed ‘El Bulli’ is completely booked between April and October and then its chef, Ferrán Adriá, closes for five months to create new dishes.

I’ll leave you with that story as I head off for lunch at my local venta were the menu del día is 8 euros and if you try to run off they set the cat on you!
UPDATE - Thursday August 7 - the Mossos d'Esquadra stated that Interpol had tracked Henry Pascal down as he drew cash from a bank machine in Geneva. He has been positively identified -at least he is safe -his story remains to be told.

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