Creative Genius

posted on: Friday, 26 July 2013

Ferran Adria, the Simpsons-version


An Elbulli creation of raw and cooked beetroot with caviar

After dinner mint

Avocado pear shavings with crab

In preparation for my visit to San Sebastian next week, I decided to stop by the Somerset House exhibition about renowned San Sebastian-restaurant elBulli and head chef Ferran Adria.

He's been on almost every cover of every major international publication, but I had to share some of the exceptional images. The plates are works of art. Adria is lauded as one of the world's greatest ever chefs; however, what was news to me was his rigorous pursuit of creativity, technique and chemistry behind the dishes.

Despite having as many two million requests per year, Adria opened elBulli for only half the year seating around 8000 diners in that time, devoting the rest of the year to leading a workshop for his team to experiment in new processes, techniques and taste combinations.

With the dedicated time to seek out new ideas, the result is intelligent dishes that humour, surprise and often wrongfoot diners' expectations of taste and texture. Care to try elBulli's tomato cookie, air baguette, pine tree water, olive oil caviar or green pepper nougat?

I see him now more as visionary and innovator, rather than an exceptional chef. And the world does too, with universities such as Harvard and consultancies such as Deloitte looking to Adria for innovation strategy.

While elBulli restaurant closed in 2011, it is re-opening next year as the elBulli foundation, a creativity lab for chefs, and also artists, designers, scientists and architects. I can't wait to see what inventions come from it. Vamos San Sebastian!

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