This summer Somerset house in London is hosting an exhibition dedicated to one of the culinary world’s most highly regarded chefs and his restaurant – Ferran Adria’s elbulli restaurant. I had previously written an article about the history and future of elbulli a couple of years ago around the time it closed down as a restaurant. The reason I state that it closed down ‘as a restaurant’ is that this is a major point behined Adria’s future plans; to him elbulli has not closed down, it is being transformed, and all the energy, creativity and spirit which made the elbulli restaurant what it was will now be channeled into different projects. For the opening of the exhibition Adria gave an opening lecture which focused on the future of his key projects; elbulli 1846, La Bullipedia and elbulli DNA.
So what are Ferran Adria’s projects you may be wondering?
First of all there is elbulli 1846 which is being desinged as a museum and visitor centre themed around the elbulli restaurant and the history of gastronomy. As Adria put it; “This reflects both the 1,846 El Bulli dishes we have catalogued and the year that Auguste Escoffier, who is the most important chef in history, was born.“
Then there is La Bullipedia; an online culinary encyclopedia. La Bullipedia will track the greatest developments in gastronomy. “We won’t be putting up the 5,000 cakes you can find on Google, but the 30 cakes that have marked the history of the evolution of chocolate cakes,“ Adria explained. La Bullipedia seeks to illuminate the last fifty years of western haute gastronomy. He also makes the point that culinary knowledge is scattered — it’s impossible for one person to be an expert in every regional cuisine or multiple products. As Adrià says, “If there is anyone that’s an expert in wine, you know that you need to live several lives to know about grapes.“
Finally there is elbulli DNA; this involves the continuous experimentation in the kitchen the results of which will be posted online. “I have never stopped being a chef and I will get back to the kitchen with El Bulli DNA,“ he said. “El Bulli created a new way of looking at gastronomy and our idea is to keep that going.”
Having attended Adria’s lecture then visiting the exhibition, it can only be said that his contributions to the culinary world over the years are great, yet pale in comparison to what he is yet to give.