Giant meringue dog gives flavor of closed elBulli eatery

Thu Aug 8, 2013 1:08pm EDT
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By Li-mei Hoang and Christine Murray

LONDON (Reuters) - Spanish chef Ferran Adria's famous elBulli restaurant is closed, but the two million people a year who wanted to eat there can at least see what he was up to at an exhibition in London that features, among other things, a giant dog made of meringue.

Famous for deconstructing and recombining foods into new shapes and flavors, Adria told Reuters the decision to close the three-star Michelin elBulli on Catalonia's Costa Brava two years ago was a hard one, but it freed him and his team from the pressures of running a high-end restaurant.

"I was tormented by having to close it. I wanted elBulli to survive for many years," Adria said in a telephone interview. "We had to create something that would allow elBulli to live for a very long time."

So Adria created the elBullifoundation, which plans to safeguard the legacy by opening a food museum and a "creativity" center on the restaurant's former grounds, overlooking a bay.

The 51 year-old chef also helped devise a special exhibition that explores elBulli's history and its culinary evolution towards its famous avant-garde cuisine, the proceeds from which will go towards funding the foundation.

Adria said it was a "dream" to hold his exhibition, which was first mounted in Barcelona last year, in London.

"London is one of the cultural capitals of the world. The UK in the last 10 years has made a huge improvement," he said, citing fellow chefs Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsey as pioneers for British cuisine.

"British food has always had a reputation of not being that good, people nowadays have lots and lots of respect for it," he said.   Continued...

Chef Ferran Adria poses by a table projecting food being eaten, at the exhibition "elBulli: Ferran Adria and The Art of Food" at Somerset House in London July 4, 2013. REUTERS/Neil Hall