Ten years ago he closed El Bulli, with which he implanted the freedom for each chef to do “whatever he wanted”; The cycle dedicated to research and innovation is about to end, and Ferran Adria recognizes that he needs new challenges, such as helping a chef to fulfill her dream. “I would like to find a woman who wants to set up a restaurant and for me to help her, a bit like in Ratatouille,” says Adria humorously in reference to the film. It wouldn’t be his restaurant but hers, who would have to decide what kind of cuisine she does.
It is just one of his projects once the current cycle is closed, another one of those challenges that keep him active, and which is called elbulli1846.And he lists: “The exhibition center (located where the restaurant was, in Cala Montjoi) will be finished in 2023 and next year we will open by invitation; the Bullipedia in 2023 will have 30 books that are doctoral theses, and there will be 4/5 books on innovation”. “We will have finished a cycle that will have been longer than we expected,” he says, and he will look for another “eggplant” like this to get into, because he needs risks, challenges and passion , at the level of when they created culinary avant-garde in El Bulli.
Relaxed, smiling and approachable, Adria has just presented the documentary The Traces of elBulli at theSan Sebastian Festival ,
Andoni Luis Aduriz, Juan Mari Arzak, Rene Redzepi and Jose Andres pass through the documentary. Everyone immediately agreed to participate in the project, because if it’s for Adria, whatever, José Larraza and Inigo Ruiz, the directors, recognize.
They show as much admiration for the Catalan chef as all their colleagues and admit that they were amazed to discover to what extent El Bulli has influenced the dishes offered by many restaurants. But Adria insists that the most important part of El Bulli’s legacy is the freedom it transmitted to those who were trained there.
The staff was renewed by 80% every six months, taking advantage of the annual closure, which led to the passing of 2,500 chefs, who are now the most influential names in Western cuisine.“They are children of El Bulli, like me, I am one more, the most important but one more”, affirms Adria. This is seen in the documentary, in which Adria teaches the young chefs. “We were pioneers and we were surely not aware of the importance that it was going to have later” , he acknowledges, and marks the turning points of his career in the Cooking and Science course they took with Harvard University and that later the whole world imitated , and on the mythical 2003 cover of The New York Times Magazine.
From El Bulli I change the paradigm of gastronomy, and affirms it without false modesty. All of this has made it possible to improve cooking and to develop a whole generation that would not have existed. Until MasterChef, he assures him. But ten years ago it was hard to tell. That is why this documentary allows us to see that influence in the long term with perspective.