El Bulli needs little introduction, now probably the world’s most famous and most successful restaurant. On the 30th of July this year El Bulli will close its doors for good to the public, leaving food-lovers in mourning. The good news? El Bulli will reopen again in 2014 as the El Bulli Foundation, a cookery school where the Adrià brothers Ferran and Albert are to train a new generation of chefs in the molecular gastronomy they have dedicated their last 15 years of their lives to perfecting.
It is perhaps no wonder the brothers Adriá are calling it a day. Older brother Ferran runs a team of 48 chefs aided by 28 waiting staff who deliver an average of 40 different dishes in about four hours – to 50 customers. This exceedingly labour intensive endeavour sets a customer back a mere €275, incredibly reasonable once you calculate that this price pays for the professionalism and dedication of a team of 77 offering a service at the top of its game.
So as with other molecular gastronomy restaurants such as the famous Fat Duck in Berkshire run by British chef Heston Blumenthal, El Bulli has always struggled to balance its books – service at this level comes with dizzying overheads and the Adrià’s have admirably resisted the temptation to cash in, instead keeping prices at a very acceptable level for food of this class.
But thanks to the founding of the El Bulli Foundation, and with the Adrià name now a global brand attracting people to a remote corner of Catalunya from all points of the globe, the legacy of El Bulli and the molecular gastronomy of the Adrià brothers is here to stay.