Ferran Adrià

05 February 2010 by
Ferran Adrià

Ferran AdriàEl Bulli, his three-Michelin-starred restaurant on the north Catalan coast near Barcelona, Spain.

Those wanting the chance to experience AdriÁ 's style of cooking - often compared to Heston Blumenthal's molecular gastronomy but actually described by the Spanish chef as "deconstructivist" - can expect an even longer wait after he announced plans to close El Bulli for two years.

AdriÁ made the unexpected announcement on 26 January 2010 at international culinary congress Madrid Fusion, where he had earlier performed a cookery demonstration and shown a short film to sum up the 2009 season at the restaurant.

Sat beside business partner and El Bulli's general manager Juli Soler, the chef said he will temporarily close the iconic restaurant during 2012 and 2013.

AdriÁ claimed the decision was for a combination of personal and creative reasons. "I'm not retiring," he said. "It's just that we're not feeding anyone at the restaurant for two years. We will still be working. I don't want to go and sit on a beach in the Bahamas but I think we deserve to lead more normal lives because for 25 years we have been focusing on the restaurant. Now we need more time with our families."

El Bulli, which currently only opens for only six months a year and last year shifted its opening season which previously ran April to October, forward to June to December, will open this year and in 2011 before closing.

According to Juan Mari Arzak, who is considered the father of modern Spanish cooking, AdriÁ "is the most innovative man in the history of cooking".

AdriÁ 's culinary career began in 1980 during his stint as a dishwasher at the Hotel Playafels, in Castelldefels, when the chef de cuisine at the hotel taught him traditional Spanish cuisine.

At 19, he was drafted into military service where he worked as a cook. In 1984, at the age of 22, AdriÁ joined the kitchen staff of El Bulli as a line cook. Eighteen months later he became the head chef.

AdriÁ 's stated goal is to "provide unexpected contrasts of flavour, temperature and texture. Nothing is what it seems. The idea is to provoke, surprise and delight the diner".

He is also well known for creating "culinary foam", with creations including foamed espresso (Áˆspesso), foamed mushroom, and foamed beetroot, as well as foamed meats.

While El Bulli is regarded as one of the top restaurants in the world, AdriÁ has not escaped criticism over the years.

In January 2007, fellow Catalan three-Michelin-star chef Santi Santamaria launched a blistering attack on modern Spanish cooking, of which AdriÁ is the influential leading exponent, accusing it of being practised by "a gang of imposters whose work is to distract snobs".

Santamaria then attacked AdriÁ 's dishes in El Bulli as unhealthy, alleging they "were designed to impress rather than satisfy and used chemicals that actually put diners' health at risk".

AdriÁ described the comments as "nonsense" but the controversy led to a split in the Spanish chef community, with industry figures aligning themselves behind the warring pair.

In October 2009, German food writer, JÁ¶rg Zipprick, accused AdriÁ of more or less poisoning his customers with the additives and said that AdriÁ 's menu should carry health warnings.

"These colorants, gelling agents, emulsifiers, acidifiers and taste enhancers that AdriÁ has introduced massively into his dishes to obtain extraordinary textures, tastes and sensations do not have a neutral impact on health," he said.

But El Bulli has been a positive influence on many of today's chefs, including Maze's Jason Atherton who completed a stage at the restaurant in 1998.

AdriÁ is the author of several cookbooks including A Day at El Bulli, El Bulli 2003-2004 and Cocinar en Casa (Cooking at Home).

News stories

Ferran AdriÁ to close three-Michelin-starred El Bulli for two years >>

Ferran Adria and Heston Blumenthal to lecture at new gastronomic university in Spain - For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say >>

Michelin-starred chef Ferran Adria accused of poisoning diners with additives - For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say >>

Ferran Adria's book "weighs as much as a toddler" - For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say >>

AA Gill gives El Bulli five out of five >>

Spanish chef Ferran AdriÁ to appear in art show >>

Top chefs dismiss Spain's claim to culinary crown >>

AdriÁ to open restaurants in 26 NH hotels >>


Video: Highlights from Madrid Fusion 2010 >>


Interview with Spanish chef Ferran AdriÁ¡ >>

Spain's new cooking >>

Spanish steps >>

AdriÁ meets his match >>

Ferran Adria on the web

If the world's greatest chef cooked for a living, he'd starve >>

Ferran Adria on about.com >>

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking