Ferran Adriá is considered by many to be the world’s greatest chef. In the past decade, his three-star Michelin restaurant El Bulli, near the Costa Brava town of Roses, was voted the world’s best five times over and won a dazzling array of accolades. He single-handedly transformed the culinary landscape in Spain and introduced a multi-sensory culinary experience that was unique anywhere in the world. People from around the world flocked to this idyllically-situated restaurant on the hill-side overlooking the cove of Cala Montjoi. El Bulli received two million reservation requests a year but it only had the capacity for fifty guests. A huge success for someone who began his career making paella and tortillas in Barcelona more than thirty years ago! Countless mesmerising dishes and cook books later, Mr. Adriá is taking a radical change of course. El Bulli will serve its last supper on July 30th 2011, which will undoubtedly be followed by a standing ovation and a thunderous applause from the lucky diners.

Ferran Adriá talks about the future of El Bulli

So… what’s next for Ferran Adriá and El Bulli? During the #InCostaBrava blog trip in May 2011, we were truly fortunate to be invited to visit El Bulli and be hosted by Mr. Adriá. He delighted us with many memorable quotes*:

“El Bulli is not closing… simply re-inventing itself”

“Passion is something that should develop slowly. Too much passion at the start is not good as it won’t last”

“Obsession kills passion”

“Bloggers will shape the future of gastronomy”

“To succeed in anything, you must have passion, you must be willing to take risks and share what you know”

The master himself

Many elements in these quotes form the core philosophy of the future El Bulli Foundation. Indeed, the restaurant will be closed to diners but in its place, a Creative Centre of gastronomy, the El Bulli Foundation, will be created: a pressure-cooker style think-tank where candidates from around the world will be invited to brainstorm and extend the boundaries of culinary innovation. Much of the exchange of ideas will take place via the Internet and the Centre’s creations will be open for feedback from guests during specially-organised tasting sessions. The Centre’s creations will also be available for restaurants around the world to adopt. A grand concept that Mr. Adriá hopes will reinforce El Bulli as a centre of creativity and innovation.

And a Hollywood movie documenting Ferran Adriá’s life and his recipes is in the works too!

worlds-lightest baguetts-el-bulli-photo
We were served the world’s lightest baguette! Think it weighed two grams!

An inspiring lesson from Ferran Adriá

We listened intently, stopping only to gasp at the special canapés El Bulli had prepared for us, including a world premiere: the world’s lightest ham and cheese baguette! One question was saved for the last:

Why this change of course?

“It became boring and not very innovative. I need a new scenery… a new challenge”.

Mr. Adriá’s three principles of success are: passion, taking risks and sharing. It certainly takes a passionate, gutsy attitude for someone to withdraw from a business that has made him a household name, and to create a concept that’s based on the principle of sharing. In this sense, his latest change of course is consistent with principles he holds dearly. Ferran Adriá shows us that living by these principles is not a way to success, it is success in itself… and that’s the most inspiring lesson from Mr. Adriá.

Tot el meu respecte per tu!

Me and Mr. Adriá at El Bulli (image courtesy of Ana Pilar at Tripwolf)

*the quotes by Ferran Adriá above (in italics) were translated from Spanish.

Planning a trip to Costa Brava, check out my guide to the best places to visit in Costa Brava.

7 Responses

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Appeared In