The modern day Willy Wonka, innovative chef Ferran Adria sadly closed the doors of his three-Michelin starred restaurant el Bulli on Spain’s Costa Brava this weekend. A very lucky 50 diners of friends and family got to experience the last supper, a gastronomic banquet consisting of 49 courses including mojito and apple baguette, clam meringue, nori ravioli with lemon, Roses with ham wonton and melon water, liquid hazelnut porra and game meat cappucino.
His food was known for pushing the boundaries crossing food with art and exploring flavours in ways they hadn’t been explored before and while considered the father of molecular dining, it was a term which he hated.
Regardless of the fact that there were always long waiting lists to dine there and that each diner paid around €275 for the tasting menu, before taxes and wine, Adria said that he was losing around half a million euros a year.
But Adria was not a haughty chef who kept his recipe a secret locked away from prying eyes, he instead shared his love for food, his recipes and the discoveries that he made with chefs from around the world. It was this that allowed his special brand of cooking to excel and develop and made him an inspiration to so many. When you have bubble food (sphereification) or foam sauce, you can thank Adria! And it is because of his love of experimenting and sharing his knowledge that has caused him to close the restaurant, that despite the long waiting lists was only open six months a year.
‘el Bulli has become a monster that had to be tamed and transformed,’ Adria said. ‘el Bulli is not closing, it is transforming itself, because its soul is going to remain.’ It will now be closed until 2014 despite diners worldwide still clamoring to eat at the restaurant. When it reopens it will be transformed into a non-profit culinary foundation that will investigate new cooking techniques and develop new flavours.
For eight months of the year he and his team will experiment with food and push the boundaries of flavour, the results of which he will post on the internet.
So since Adria has decided to phase out the customer, where will foodies go to taste food as art? Well four of the world’s best chef’s who were trained by Ferran and were also at the final dinner may hold that answer. Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, Mugaritz near San Sebastian Spain, and Osteria Francescan in Modena, Italy may now be the best places to go to try exceptional food not held back by convention.
However if these are a little too far away or too costly, why not pick up Adria’s latest book The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria, available on pre-order for £12.96 from Amazon.