El Bulli chef branches out into the art world

Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:49am EDT
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By Tim Castle

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Reservations are so tight at the world's best restaurant that even head chef Ferran Adria is unable to get a booking for friends at short notice.

Only open for half the year, Spain's El Bulli restaurant on the Barcelona coast is fully booked for months in advance, even at the 300 euros ($415) per person cost of its 30-40 course menu.

Adria says that even if a Nobel Peace Prize winner called for a table he could only make room in the 50-head establishment if there was a cancellation. And those are few and far between.

"If you had a booking and you couldn't come, what would you do?" Adria, 46, told Reuters in an interview.

"You would ring a friend of yours and you would say, 'I have a booking at El Bulli'. So this is what happens, we have no cancellations."

Voted best restaurant in the world four times in a row by Restaurant Magazine, El Bulli serves its guests a stream of micro-sized dishes, each exquisitely presented and the result of months of culinary experimentation. Some call it molecular gastronomy.

Adria and his team of 70 staff use tools such as liquid nitrogen, centrifuges and precision scales to create hot jellies, grilled fruit and novelties such as melon caviar.

The dishes are designed to entertain as much as to nourish, while some are deliberately provocative.   Continued...

<p>Spanish chef Ferran Adria looks around during a discussion at the Madrid Fusion 7th International Summit of Gastronomy in Madrid January 20, 2009. REUTERS/Sergio Perez</p>