Standard bearer of culinary innovation in Spain, the Spanish chef, Ferran Adría, has spent three years (since he closed elBulli in 2011) working on his most ambitious project: elBullifoundation. A private foundation backed by the Catalan chef and Juli Soler which will become the first R&D culinary centre in the world and will be located on the site of the Catalan chef’s prestigious restaurant in Cala Montjoi. With creativity as its main hallmark, Ferran will defend his motto “creativity means not copying” through this entity, which is due to open in 2016. Without a shadow of doubt, it will become one of the main driving forces of Spanish cuisine throughout the world and of training in haute cuisine.
“There will be risk, freedom and creativity. But there won’t be opening hours, reservations or routines”, according to the foundation. Therefore elBullifoundation will be made up of two important projects: elBulli1846 and BulliPedia.
It owes its name to the number of dishes created at the restaurant and will aim to safeguard the legacy of elBulli. To do so, it will create an exhibition centre as well as a creative centre called elBulliDNA, boasting a team of chefs from all over the world. The exhibition centre will house a permanent exhibition, whereby the two-hour visit will provide an insight into the historic evolution from Neanderthal cooking to the creation process in innovative cuisine. In this way, the space will act as a physical archive that will include the restaurant’s infrastructure, the different dinner services or its documentation, but also as a digital archive whereby the knowledge generated will be uploaded to the Internet.
This space will become the first R&D culinary centre in the world, the place where the foundation’s creative team will develop its activity, working in the laboratory called elBulliDNA. 30 different chefs each year, “the best in the world” according to Adrià, will be selected following an extremely demanding process. They will work hand in hand with the main elBulli team for eight months and will not only experiment with cuisine, but will be supported by other disciplines, such as science, art, architecture, communication… in order to present gastronomy in other spheres of knowledge. The team of chefs will have the task of researching and publishing the knowledge acquired on the Internet, on a platform that will be accessible to all.
Adrià expects to record 200,000 annual visitors in the eight months that the centre will be open each year. Furthermore, food will continue to be served at Cala Montjoi for just one month a year. 50% of the reservations will be free and can be obtained through a prize draw on the Internet. The remaining 50% will raise funds to keep the centre up and running.
The BulliPedia is the second important project under the auspices of the foundation, a tool for professionals that codifies cuisine over the past 50 years and serves to educate and inspire chefs. It is a digital culinary encyclopaedia open to all as anybody can add their suggestions. Furthermore, it will present knowledge in an organised way so that it is just as useful to obtain information and learn, as it is to generate ideas and educate. In short, it is a tool to democratize cuisine, gain a better understanding of food, inspire and create.
This project, which is presented without any loose ends, has been developed by the Catalan chef, his team and with the help of 17 MBA students at IESE who were entrusted with designing the financial model and the brand plan that will turn this private family-run foundation into an international reference.
To commence its activity, elBullifoundation plans to reform and refurbish the former restaurant and to build new facilities. Of the existing 1,116 m2, 896 m2 will be refurbished, 219 m2 will be pulled down and 3,466 m2 will be built. The future facilities will be located in the Cap de Creus Natural Park and will occupy a surface are of 5,411 m2.
Further information at: elbullifoundation.com