Ferran Adria breezed through Brisbane. The master chef and father of molecular gastronomy was talking at the Gallery of Modern Art. I could not miss this.
Adria started in el Bulli in 1983.Within a short period of time his cooking became legendary. There were waiting lists that went into years not months.He came to talk to us about his experiences and what he is up to. In the last 25 years, he said, nothing ever stayed the same from year to year. There were constant innovations, explorations and menus that left diners with their mouths literally gaping.He closed his restaurant el Bulli in Spain in 2011, the last serving was not a sad day but rather the start of a bigger more innovative programme.
He decided to close it because it was madness to change everything every year. He compared this to an artist innovating art radically every year. He wanted to get away from the Michelin stars but have the freedom to create. He has now created a family Foundation, perhaps because he doesn’t have children, where all income generated goes to the Foundation. They auctioned off the wine cellar at el Bulli and made 2 million Euros. They put in further funds and the Foundation is moving forward. He has been on a tour of major Universities and Business schools asking for their input to his plans. The Foundation will be on the same premises as the restaurant and it will be where chefs under elBulli DNA will continue to innovate and create. Their creations will be put online and will be available to all. At the same time he is working on el Bulli 1846 (after the number of dishes he created) which will not be a museum, nor a lab, but something in between the two. He plans to launch Bullipaedia which will embrace projects about education in the food industry and cooking which, as he put it, will not just be for the elite but free for all. He has even questioned what is the definition of cooking a question that will doubtless engage anthropologists in the years to come.
He left Brisbane with a promise of more to follow and while I would struggle to emulate even his simplest recipes in the kitchen I am fascinated by his mind, his passion for food and its preparation and cannot wait to see where he wants to take it.