El Bulli and the Genius of Ferran Adrià

12.- Exposició "Ferran Adrià i elBulli. Risc, llibertat i creativitat"

12.- Exposició “Ferran Adrià i elBulli. Risc, llibertat i creativitat” (Fotografia: Vanessa Miralles, Palau Robert 2012 – Used under Creative Commons License)

Like many of you perhaps, my first exposure to Ferran Adria came courtesy of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations​. Apart from the work I do in helping to select books and resources for the library, my exposure to the world of restaurant kitchens has really been limited to friends who cook. It seems to be a tough business; long hours, low margins, high probability of failure, high staff turn over, often unpleasant, stressful working conditions – I could go on.

So, El Bulli looked nothing like the restaurants I’d come to know through stories, though – to be clear – nothing ​about it looked easy. First up, There was the menu: 30-50 courses over 5+ hours. Interesting… Then it was seasonal; and by seasonal I don’t mean that they served strawberries in the summer. I mean, when it closed for the Winter the staff left the 52 ticket restaurant in a small cove on the Costa Brava and the kitchen retreated to a Barcelonan lab for the Winter to invent.​ Say what..?

They assembled to be under the tutelage of the man who arguably is the most important of the modern conception of chefs-as-brand and the Godfather of Molecular Gastronomy: Ferran Adrià​. ​ ​

​Perhaps because his work has been so consistently inventive and so highly praised it has been documented religiously. We purchased our first of the catalogues: ​ElBulli 2005-2011 this year and will collect another each year until we have the full set. Gorgeous books, well worth exploring