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Profile of a Spanish Chef: Ferran Adrià

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

Ferran Adriá

Spanish chef Ferran Adrià pioneered a new era in gastronomic inventions by turning food into foams, earning himself the title he personally denounces - Forefather of Molecular Gastronomy. Along with his revolutionary take on food, he ran one of the world's most popular Michelin 3-star restaurants, El Bulli.

Ferran Adrià portrait in El Bulli's kitchen

Ferran Adriá's Beginnings

Adrià entered the world of professional kitchens as a dishwasher in a local hotel after dropping out of university. In that kitchen, he learned about the essence of traditional Spanish cooking. After following his destiny to serve as a chef for the army, Adrià started working at El Bulli's kitchen. By 1985, he became head chef of the then Michelin 2-star restaurant.

Owing to his innovative mind, Adrià soon championed the art of using ingredients such as natural gums, liquid nitrogen and enzymes to build new textures. He also started to explore new cooking methods such as sous-vide cooking, as well as finding new ways to use existing techniques. He started focusing on the principle of deconstructionism to make some techno-emotional cuisine which engaged all five senses. One of the most iconic dishes he created in El Bulli was an olive-lookalike made of olive oil juice, processed to recreate the appearance of a regular olive, but when bitten into, it explodes in the mouth. To keep the innovative spirit of the restaurant alive, El Bulli would be closed for nearly half the year. During this time, Adrià and his team hosted "El Bulli Taller" workshops, and when the restaurant would open again, it would be reserved for months in advance.

Ferran Adrià with some of his co chef's at El Bulli

Ferran Adriá's El Bulli

Without a clear message and by vaguely saying that the restaurant would re-open, Adrià closed El Bulli in 2011. The restaurant remained permanently closed as he moved on to new ventures with the El Bulli Foundation and the El Bulli Lab, as well as collaborating with numerous organizations from the world-famous circus group Cirque du Soleil to the Spanish telecommunications group Telefonica.

The world is patiently waiting to learn more about Ferran Adrià's new work in the lab and to see what playful treats he has in store for us!

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