Chef Ferran Adria--named the world's best chef and owner of what has been named the world's best restaurant--is an inspiration to culinary students as he pushes the limits of the culinary arts.
"What I hate most is monotony," Adria told a Time interviewer. Adria, born in Spain in 1962, landed a line cook job at El Bulli, a floundering French restaurant in Roses, Spain, when he was just 21. Eighteen months later, Adria became head chef, and in 1990 he bought the restaurant. For 25 years, Ferran Adria has worked only at El Bulli--and it's been anything but monotonous.
Adria, whose best-known invention is culinary foam (main ingredients whipped with air using nitrous oxide), made El Bulli the most famous restaurant in the world. It has a three-star Michelin rating. Restaurant magazine named El Bulli the top restaurant in the world in 2002, 2006, and 2007. And in 1999, venerated French Master Chef Joel Robuchon made a pronouncement that was rare for him, declaring that Ferran Adria was the best chef in the world.
El Bulli's tasting meal is a series of about 30 small courses, some just one bite or sip. Each course is inventive and unexpected: wood smoke condensed to create a mousse-- sugar and olive oil spun into a sweet gossamer filament. And the restaurant is open only six months of the year. During the other six months, Ferran and his large staff of chefs, culinary students, and scientists conduct rigorous experiments and perfect recipes.
El Bulli takes reservations only one day each year for the coming year. If everyone who tried to make a reservation succeeded, the restaurant would be booked for the next 125 years. "We wanted to push the limits--whether people liked it or not," Adria told The Independent. "I am happy when people enjoy my food. But it's not my first priority."
The Independent New York Magazine
New York Times