Ferran Adria, gastronomy's renaissance man

Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:06pm EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Ferran Adria doesn't like to be called the world's best chef, a title he's been awarded many times.

The man who's pioneered molecular gastronomy and reshaped avant-garde cuisine at his award-winning elBulli restaurant insists he's just an ordinary guy who loves to cook, and who now has set his sights on yet another culinary revolution.

In 2012, El Bulli, outside Barcelona, and which was voted the world's best restaurant four years in a row by the prestigious Restaurant Magazine, will shut down for two years and become a think tank that Adria calls a "the biggest testing ground for creativity in the world."

It will host between 20 to 25 aspiring chefs and others interested in science and the arts and who will try and come up with the next big thing in gastronomy, he said.

"Human beings need to evolve," the 47-year-old Spanish culinary superstar told Reuters during his first visit to Singapore, which aims to become a global gourmet hub.

"We've been pushing the limits, and what we've been doing has been controversial, but if food is as much about eating as the experience, then our mission is to create an experience," he said via an interpreter.

Three Michelin-starred Adria, who received Restaurant Magazine's first "Chef of the Decade" award this year, made his name since the 1990s by using tools such as liquid nitrogen, centrifuges and precision scales to create dishes that taste as unusual as they look.