"MANY know about El Bulli but few have ever been there!"
So says Ferran Adria, the 3 Michelin star Chef who now wants to take a working sabbatical for some two years before transforming El Bulli into a think-tank in 2014. Why? To push the boundaries of his cuisine and to look for new challenges. His avant garde cuisine has been labelled Molecular Gastronomy by many but today he told me just after I saw the documentary, directed by his brother Alberto, called "A Day in El Bulli"
"Do you see technology in my kitchen or do you see the artisanal touch?" I did see some technology, namely the Calcium Chloride water baths and liquid hydrogen to freeze the foie gras shavings, as well as the freeze drying of strawberries. However, I also saw the love and artisanal touch that is put into his cuisine, and get this, guests feast on 35 courses!!!
Only open for dinner with 40 chefs and 25 other staff including waiters and waitresses serving 50 guests, Ferran confides, "We don’t make money…"
"People think I have a Ferrari waiting by the door and I am never at my restaurant."
Ferran said emphatically waving his hands expressively,"I am at El Bulli when it is open 160 days a year!"
He endeared himself to me when he explained how he deals with pretentious people and chefs who think they know everything.
I tell them, " You know a lot…and then I ask them: Do you know the 4 main dishes they like to eat in the Ukraine? After that I ask: What do they eat in Greenland? "
He smiled cheekily and said, "After that they realise they do not know so much."
Ferran emphasized, "There is NO absolute truth!"
Clearly, not only a great chef but a man of deep passion and strong views!
Incidentally El Bulli is near the French border in the Costa Brava, 2 hours by car form Barcelona.