Dinner with Spain's elBulli chef goes for $23,000 in Hong Kong

Wed Apr 3, 2013 8:12am EDT
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By Chris Ip

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A dinner for four with celebrated Spanish chef Ferran Adria of the award-winning elBulli restaurant sold for a cool $23,000 to an online Asian bidder on Wednesday, while a set of custom-engraved knives went for nearly $8,000.

Wine from the famed restaurant hauled in a total of $1.8 million, beating pre-sale estimates of $1.1 million, with all 445 lots selling in the centerpiece of a strong first day of Sotheby's spring Hong Kong auctions, seen as a key benchmark of luxury appetite in China.

The $23,000 did not include a buyer's premium and there were no estimates for the dinner.

The dinner, to be held at Adria's brother's restaurant in Barcelona, was the first of two set to go under the hammer. The other will be auctioned on April 26 in New York.

"I think the New York sale will also go as well as this one, so it's going to be double the amount of money," Adria told reporters after the auction. "This is a lot more than what I was expecting, so we are very pleased."

Proceeds from the auction will benefit the elBulli Foundation, a culinary centre Adrià, 50, will open in 2014 to teach his experimental techniques.

Adria ran the world-famous elBulli restaurant in the northern Catalonian town of Roses for 27 years until 2011, when it closed.

The three-star Michelin restaurant was renowned for "deconstructed" dishes including foams and jellies that required custom-made tools, many of which also went under the hammer on Wednesday.   Continued...

Ferran Adria, former owner and head chef at El Bulli, attends The World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards at the Guildhall in London April 30, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris