Last Saturday, El Bulli, former world's best restaurant and trailblazer for culinary creativity, served its last meal. El Bulli is not dead, however; it will become a private culinary think-tank which plans to catalogue its findings and disseminate the information at chef's conferences and culinary schools.
Chef Ferran Adria and his brother Albert fueled the modern cuisine movement, creating complex dishes and presenting them in incredibly creative ways. Take the spherical "olive," a liquid sphere of olive puree created using a seaweed extract called sodium alginate, which creates a thin skin to hold the liquid within:
The restaurant, located in Roses, Spain outside of Barcelona, was a culinary mecca to many, and an inspiration to chefs around the world. A meal at the restaurant consisted of up to 50 hyper-modern courses, at a price of $345. Getting a reservation at El Bulli was nearly impossible, with nearly 2 million people attempting to grab one of the 6,000 seats available each year.
One of those lucky diners was Michelle Bernstein of Michy's, Sra. Martinez and Crumb on Parchment, who shared her thoughts with us on the meal and El Bulli's legacy:
"The fact that El Bulli's restaurant is closed doesn't mean that
molecular is dead. The opposite in fact. I think it burns the fire
"Ferran is going to turn it into a very sophisticated place for
even more ideas and genius to be created, from which eventually more of the
world can learn. This type of cuisine ... or science ... or creativity ... can now
"I believe El Bulli and its type of gastronomy has
definitely touched all of us in the business. Whether we use it or not, its in
our brains. The seed was planted and now we all know how much we don't know and
how much is really out there to still learn. At least that's how I feel, especially
since I was able to eat there a couple months ago. I feel sort of not worthy.
I need to learn and to study to become better.
"I truly think this is what
Ferran Adria has done for the whole gastronomic world, including Miami. We will
definitely see young disciples and people he has somehow touched and their food
very soon down here, if not already.
"Just look at Pubbelly (Sergio worked at La
Broche) and Jose Andres will be opening a Bazaar in Miami very soon."
Another local chef who had the opportunity to spend time at El Bulli was Jeremiah Bullfrog of the food truck gastroPod, who worked in the kitchen:
"Bulli is a crazy kitchen to work in. Molecular
gastronomy is the wrong term to use, especially when referring to El Bulli as
they tend to eschew the term. Modern cuisine and its techniques have been
greatly affected by the economy. Fine dining in general has taken a huge hit.
Although, you can still find cool applications. (Flip Burger in Atlanta is a
"Bulli has influenced the dining scene across the
globe for better or worse. We still suffer from the occasional wayward foam
gone awry. Marcel Vigneron (Top Chef) can't seem to let it die even after
Ferran put it to bed.
"As per Miami, there are a handful of locals whom
work wonders with cutting edge kitchen shit. Chadzilla and Kurtis Jantz (Trump)
being ones that come to mind. Alberto Cabrera (The Local).
"With it's closing will come it's successors. The
States are blessed with Grant Achatz, Richard Blais, and a slew of Jose Andres
alums who are blazing new culinary trails with the spirit of Bulli.
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"As much shit as they put me through, there is and will never be a place
like it. Ever. And for the opportunity that I was given I feel blessed to have
been a part of it."