Keller was having a good time in the city but cares little for the wizardry of others. "I love Ferran [Adria]," he said, "but what you get with him is a bunch of equations. What about the ingredients?" And so Keller and I and David Breeden, the Brylcreamed born and bred Tennessean sous chef at Per Se who could have stepped out of a Coen Brothers film, headed to La Bretxa, San Sebastian's indoor central market to be inspired by ingredients. Keller explained along the way that his presentation, dubbed "The Philosophy of Elegance," wouldn't be about food anyway. "Why would I show them food? It's an absurd notion, to me. Showing them something makes it all about me. I don't cook for me. I cook for you." With that we descended the escalators into the market.
Through the broad aisles bordered by market stands Keller shambled, blown here and there like a pussywillow in the breeze. He stopped at a produce stand, eyeing bright tomatoes and artichokes still stalked. "Where are these from?" he asked, holding a pair of plump avocados. "Malaga," said the merchant, "in the south of Spain." Keller took eight. Perusing the stands, Keller looked toward Breeden for ideas. Passing a coven of broccoli, Breeden conferred with his QB. "What about broccoli with pomegranate?" Keller nodded. "Some almond dressing?" Breeden added. Again Keller nodded and into the plastic sack went the broccoli.