Ferran Adrià Acosta (b. 1962 in Barcelona, Spain). In April 1984, Adrià joined the team of elBulli in the position of Chef de Partie. By 1987, Adrià began to use ingredients, techniques, and regional influences that reinterpreted “haute cuisine.” Until 1993, the Mediterranean-style defined much of the cuisine of elBulli and exerted an important influence on the Catalan and Spanish cuisine of this period. However, beginning in 1990, Adrià incorporated tapas, spoons, skewers, jellies, and savory ice cream—concepts that reached their full expression by 1994. From that time on, three pillars characterized the cuisine of elBulli: continual research of new cooking techniques; an emphasis on the role of the senses in the art of creating and eating; and the sixth sense, that is to say, the role of reason and reflection on the act of eating. Adrià’s trademark cuisine was served to the elBulli diner in the form of an extensive tasting menu, which grew to more than forty dishes in the final years of elBulli. Beginning in the late 1980s, Adrià and Juli established a culinary season that was divided into two parts: six months of service in the restaurant and six months of research and creativity. The latter activity was carried out in different locations until 2000, when elBullitaller was opened in Barcelona. This change marked an evolution in the cuisine of elBulli, leading to the bestowal of three Michelin stars in 1997, and the title of “Best Restaurant in the World” by Restaurant Magazine in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The accolade “Chef of the Decade” was presented to Adrià in 2010 by the same magazine.
In 2011, Adrià decided to close the restaurant to transform it into a foundation. He orchestrated, in accordance with Richard Geoffroy, the ultimate supper at El Bulli matching in a unique experience 50 plates of his creation with 6 rare Dom Pérignon: Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1973, Dom Pérignon Vintage 2002, Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1996, Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1969, Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1976 and Dom Pérignon Oenothèque Rosé 1990. The foundation will open in 2015 and aims to preserve the legacy of elBulli, including its installations and its archive. The original elBulli building in Cala Montjoi will be redesigned by Spanish architect Enric Ruiz Geli, who will create a space that is sustainable, ecological and integrated into the landscape. A permanent exhibition will be staged to present a narrative that outlines the restaurant’s history and culinary evolution. In addition, this space will provide facilities for activities related to the process of creativity with a team that will publish its research on the Internet.
Ferran Adrià was the subject of the recent exhibition Ferran Adrià and elBulli at Palau Robert, Barcelona, Spain, in February 2012. He has participated in Documenta 12, Kassel, Germany, in 2007, and was featured in the documentary film El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (2011). In the fall of 2010 he was a guest lecturer at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He was the recipient of the 2011 Queen Sofia Spanish Institute’s gold medal, The San Pellegrino award for best chef of the decade by The Restaurant Magazine in 2010, and recipient of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) award for best chef in 2009, among other accolades.