Gourmands around the world mourned Saturday as El Bulli, one of the few restaurants to be granted Michelin three-star status, served its last supper.
Located in northern Spain, El Bulli (the bulldog), is closing after a final dinner and drinks party for faithful clients and staff families hosted by chef Ferran Adria, who has run the kitchen for 24 years. Guests will chose from a list of 50 dishes, including “Clam Meringue,” “Olive Spheres” and “Hot Cold Gin Fizz,” the AP reports.
Adria, one of the world’s top chefs known for “molecular cuisine,” plans to turn the restaurant into a top-level cuisine foundation that will open in 2014. Besides functioning as a food laboratory for the best chefs from around the globe, the foundation will be open to public and will post new recipes from its chefs’ discoveries online every day.
“El Bulli is not closing,” Adria told the AP. “It’s just transforming.”
Located in the town of Roses in an isolated seaside cove on Spain’s far northeastern tip, El Bulli received more than a million reservation requests a year. Seating just 50 and opened only for dinner six months out of the year, most people could never get in. For those who did, the average price of dinner was $388 per head not including drinks, tax or tips.
During the six months when the restaurant would close, Adria would travel the world in search of novel culinary ideas and practice preparing new dishes that would delight even the most discerning foodies. Four of the world’s top five chefs trained at El Bulli, including Rene Redzepi of Denmark and Chicago’s Grant Achtaz.
Adria, who often served 47-course dinners of dishes that were sprayed, syringed or painted onto the plate, liked to deconstruct ingredients to the “molecular level,” then put them back together in unexpected re-combinations.
Those re-combinations included cocktails like foam mojito accompanied by popcorn that had been powdered and reconstituted as kernels and a tempura of rose petals. Another dish called “Kellogg’s paella” consisted of puffed Rice Krispies with seafood reduction, a side of flash-fried shrimp and an ampoule containing a thick brown extract of shrimp heads that the waiters told you to squeeze into your mouth.
Over the years, hundreds of restaurant critics from around the world made the pilgrimage to El Bulli, finding Adria’s approach fascinating and claiming he had created a new chapter in culinary history. Now that chapter has closed.