Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bye Bye El Bulli

Quick!  What's the best restaurant in the world?  Is it located in New York, London, or Dubai?  NO!  It is located in sleepy Spain, near Roses, Catalan and its name is El Bulli. Who would have thought that Spain of all places would launch a gastronomic revolution?  And that it has taken place in our own lifetime, is exciting indeed.

Photo courtesy of Charles Haynes

Entrance to El Bulli

Despite its fine reputation by top chefs and industry experts, consistent awards and a rack of Michelin stars, the restaurant served its last dinner July 30.  It never did turn a profit, likely due to its lack of compromise in the pursuit of culinary excellence. The idea that flavors and presentation might evoke memories and feelings suggested raising the bar to the level of fine art.

Photo courtesy of Charles Haynes

Kitchen of El Bulli

As clean and organized as an operating room, this is where the experimental magic of "molecular gastronomy" took place.  Forty-two chefs were employed under the direction of Ferran Adria. Traditional recipes were questioned, transformed and re-created.  The art of cooking metamorphosed into performance art and menus offered imaginative combinations never seen before. 

Creative Director Ferran Adria

Adria promises that El Bulli will re-open as a culinary think-tank. Though I was never lucky enough to win the lottery for a seat at El Bulli, I know that I have experienced its influence, whether dining at an expensive restaurant or popping into a casual corner eatery. A toast to future innovations!

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