[Photos: Kat Odell/Eater.com]
It's pretty impressive that the first-annual Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival was able to nab molecular gastronome extraordinaire, arguably the most famous chef in the world, Ferran Adrià. Not only was Adrià honored during the four day festival which kicked off last Thursday night, but that very afternoon Adrià engaged in a passionate three hour speech at the Universidad del Caribe. He discussed his favorite way to make orange juice (peel an orange and pop it into the blender - that way optimal nutrients are retained), his exploration of water/ice as a medium in cuisine, and his decision to close elBulli.
He also offered a detailed explanation of his plans for the future. Plans that include his previously-discussed elBullifoundation to open 2014 in Cala Montjoi, Spain; a culinary museum or Centro Expositivo slated for 2016 in Roses, Spain; and a culinary bible of modern Spanish cuisine available online called LaBullipedia (like Wikipedia).
According to Adrià, the day elBulli closed was the best day of his life. He spoke of the restaurant's final day of service as a massive celebration. A celebration of everything he and his team had accomplished since elBulli's inception. As a gift to his staff, Adrià sent team members out on a sabbatical to travel, learn, and reflect. And return to elBullifoundation with renewed creativity. "I wanted to give back to society by creating elBullifoundation...so elBulli is for everyone, belongs to everyone, and can continue."
[Photos: Kat Odell/Eater.com]
Adrià showed renderings of his sustainably-built elBullifoundation which will manifest itself in a series of futuristic-looking buildings, each serving a separate purpose. One area will act as an idea space where people will come together to think. He described another building as a work sharing space where elBulli employees plus other chefs will join together to discuss ideas. And the final, and perhaps most important edifice: the cocina or kitchen.
Unfortunately, don't expect to score a table here. According to Adrià, 90% of the time no dinner will be served. He estimates that on an annual basis 25 dinners will take place, other than that the cocina will be an experimental lab to test out new culinary techniques.
As for Centro Expositivo, Adrià didn't go into great detail, however he did say that the idea for a culinary museum was born from the success of past food and art shows based on his shuttered elBulli.
And then there's Adrià's version of Wikipedia or LaBullipedia. He had mentioned it back in February, calling it a "Wikipedia of high cooking with free access to all of its content," but this is the first time he's revealed the official name. This will serve as an online resource available to all focused on modern cooking to this day. For example, one might find a recipe for asparagus soup. But not only will this recipe grace the site but recipes for soup made from white asparagus. Then a description of what asparagus is, the types of asparagus, the history of asparagus, other ways to cook with asparagus -- pretty much anything you could ever want to know about this vegetable will be on the site. Adrià didn't, however, mention when LaBullipedia will launch.
Adrià wrapped up by saying, "...if you have a dream, you can make it come true. I was just a middle class child in a middle class family. Focus on your path. On something that makes you happy and you will get there. Try to be happy. Those that are successful are those that are happy. Look for happiness and you will be successful. Don't look for success, you will not be happy. Think about it."