Ferran Adria first announced the closure of El Bulli, the former S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant, at the beginning of this year. Since then, speculation has circulated about the future of the restaurant as a “foundation of avant-garde gastronomy”.
Now, speaking with BigHospitality, Adria dispels some of the rumours and outlines what’s in store for him and the El Bulli team when the restaurant closes in July 2011.
There are a lot of myths surrounding El Bulli. With the new book*, whoever wants to know anything about El Bulli can read it in there – that’s the truth about the restaurant and about me, all the rest is just myths.
The timeline for El Bulli’s future starts on 25 January 2011, when we’ll officially present the new concept at Madrid Fusion. On 30 July the restaurant will close, and on 31 July El Bulli will re-open as a new concept. Then there will be three years of work, which will involve a lot of travelling from me and about five members of the team, just to look around and see what is going on around the world. In 2014, the El Bulli centre will open and the activity will begin.
It’s a very special project that needs a lot of thinking and preparation. In three years, a lot will change, and we have the freedom to change things as we go along. But the thing that is clear right now is that it will be a centre of creativity.
About 25 people will be involved. The majority of people will be chefs, but there will be others involved too. We’ll have about 20 chefs and five people from other disciplines that can be related to cuisine.
It will be hard work to find the right people to be involved in the project. El Bulli currently has 5,000 applications for stages every year. The new project could have 300,000 applications. It will be a huge job to find the right people.
The selection process will be complicated, and we haven’t decided on it yet. That’s why we’re taking this much time to develop the whole process.
There will still be ways for people to eat at El Bulli, but not through reservations. If we take reservations then it will become a restaurant – and we don’t want that. The concept of El Bulli will have to evolve. There are a thousand different issues we have to decide on before we decide who we’ll accept in El Bulli for a meal.
I’m aware that this may sound very odd and incomprehensible. It’s such a new concept that it’s hard for most people to understand and get the bigger picture.
We’re not concerned about how it will be funded. That’s not really important. The team will manage the budget and will tell me how much money they need for the projects. And we’ll find the funding from our other businesses or from sponsorships if anyone’s interested.
It’ll be easy compared to the entire process that El Bulli went through to become what it is today. It just means hard work, and the need to offer people something new and different.
It’s very hard to say what the future will bring or what we will develop. If you know what’s going to happen, you’re not talking about the future but about the present.
In cuisine, the future is globalisation – but understood in the right way. For example haute cuisine was basically all about France; now it’s available in any country in the world. But nobody knows which direction it will go in now. It could be Canada tomorrow; somebody could appear on the scene and be the next big chef.
The creativity of the future is not about nations, it’s about people. Suddenly you might find a generation of people in one country that is unique and excels, like you do in other disciplines like architecture or design. The future is very wide.
* Ferran Adria’s biography – Reinventing Food: Ferran Adria, The Man Who Changed The Way We Eat by Colman Andrews – has just been released by Paidon Press, £19.95.