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Ferran Adrià Shares New Details on the elBulli Film

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Photos: Gabe Ulla / Eater

Earlier this week came word that the film adaptation of Lisa Abend's book on elBulli stagiares, The Sorcerer's Apprentices, had picked up producer Philippe Rousselet and screenwriter David Wilson. It also came to light that the filmmakers intend on reopening Ferran Adrià's famed restaurant — either at the original location in Roses, Spain or at a set in Hollywood — while actors are getting into their roles. Earlier this morning, Adrià got on the phone to talk about his involvement with the production, his thoughts on the material, and how he'd like to have the restaurant (briefly) reopen. Here are the details:

"Nothing has been decided yet," said Adrià before getting into any of the questions at hand. "I haven't even been in touch with the producer these past few days," he added. But it's inevitable, he confirmed, that elBulli will reopen in some capacity. The chef believes that beyond getting a feel for how the kitchen worked at the restaurant, the actors need to understand what service — and a night in general — was like when the restaurant was in operation. "That doesn't happen with hiring more actors to come in to eat," said the chef. "It happens with regular diners coming in to enjoy a meal, with the expectations that they are going to have the elBulli experience — it can't be a simulacrum." Whether it's going to take place in California or Spain is up to the producer and director.

Whenever the restaurant reopens, there won't be reservations. "We don't know how we'll do it yet," he said. An earlier report suggested that there would be a lottery system or perhaps the restaurant team and filmmakers would just invite a group of friends, but Adrià said nothing has been established yet. "Any way we do it," said Adrià, "a lot of people will want to come." The chef is willing to make it happen for as long or as short a time as the filmmakers need. "We're here to do anything and everything to make this work for them," he said.

Adrià explained that in addition to training actors in the elBulli kitchen, he hopes to send them to other high-end restaurants. He mentioned potentially enlisting the help of colleagues like Grant Achatz (Alinea, Chicago), Joan Roca (El Celler de Can Roca, Girona), and Andoni Luis Aduriz (Mugaritz, San Sebastian), so the actors can understand what goes on in restaurants of elBulli's caliber and ambition. "I really hope José Andrés will be an important part of this, because he was with our team for so long and is a good communicator," added Adrià.

The decision to turn to colleagues with restaurants currently in operation makes sense: Adrià said that even though this isn't going to be a documentary, "it isn't going to be a biopic, either." The chef sees it as a work of fiction that uses elBulli's last year to show people the excitement, stress, and action that go into a restaurant operation like this. "Most people don't know the professionalism and pressure that go into it," he said. Though he emphasized the dramatic and fictional aspects of the work, Adrià did explain that he hopes the film's focus on the final year of the restaurant will explain the reasons for the transformation of his famed restaurant into a non-profit institution focused on creativity.

The transformation begins next month, when the first phase of construction on elBulli Foundation begins. It wraps up at the end of September. "That leaves October to February for us to be able to film there," said Adrià, confirming that the film will likely shoot in the fall of 2013 and early winter of 2014. The second phase of construction begins after February 2014.

With no director yet, there are bound to be several changes and announcements to come. But Adrià is sure of one thing: "I want the film to premiere at the elBulli Foundation. It would be beautiful if this was the first thing we did there."

More details as they become available.

· All ElBulli Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Ferran Adrià Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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