By Wendy Williams
RENOWNED Catalan chef Ferran Adria shocked the food world earlier this year with the announcement he is to close his Michelin starred restaurant El Bulli and transform it into a not-for-profit foundation.
Now, the man famous for his experimental cuisine has struck a deal with Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica moving the project one step closer to becoming a reality.
The restaurant in Roses, voted the world’s best between 2004 and 2009, is set to close in 2011 and reopen as a ‘creative laboratory’ in 2014.
The 47-year-old chef said: “Today is really the start of the new El Bulli.
“It will be transformed into a totally different place.”
And Luis Abril, spokesman for Telefonica said: “This agreement will allow us to make the new ‘El Bulli’ into the best creative laboratory in the world, combining innovation and new technologies in communications and knowledge.”
Adria is set to convert his Costa Brava restaurant into a revolutionary gastronomic ‘think tank’, offering international training courses and conferences with future culinary creations broadcast in real time on the internet.
And although very keen to insist that it will not be a school, the Foundation will grant between 20 and 25 scholarships annually for chefs to come and work with the creative team.
One of the goals of the foundation is to create “a great encyclopedia of contemporary cuisine.”
And as a statement on the El Bulli website explained: “The El Bulli Foundation will be a foundation for all avant-garde gastronomy lovers; chefs, sommeliers, front-of-the-house professionals, gourmets, creative thinkers or solely enthusiasts of our dream…It will be a breeding ground for new ideas and for new talent to go together, hand in hand, even further.”