El Bulli to serve its last brioche

Chef Ferran Adrià is to close his Catalonian restaurant for good, despite the 3,000 foodies on its waiting list

The world's most exclusive restaurant just got that bit more exclusive: epicureans the world over will lament, as they scramble for a last chance to sample fare at the Catalonian eaterie El Bulli, after its owner's decision this weekend to close for good.

Ferran Adrià, the Catalan chef who has spent two decades in the vanguard of avant-garde cuisine, recently announced that he planned to close El Bulli in 2012, reopening two years later having considered its future direction.

But in an interview with The New York Times on Friday, Mr Adrià, 47, had changed his mind. The restaurant will close permanently next year because, despite having a reported 3,000 people on its waiting list for a table, it is losing too much money.

In its place, Mr Adrià will run a cooking foundation offering scholarships to the world's most talented chefs.

El Bulli, in the town of Roses, north of Barcelona, has won the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards a record five times and has three Michelin stars; it has just four dozen seats, which are allocated by lottery.

But it has operated at a loss since 2000. Mr Adrià and his partner, Juli Soler, had been losing half a million euros a year on the restaurant and his cookery workshop in Barcelona. He said: "At that level of contribution I think we would rather see the money go to something larger, that expands the concept and spirit of what El Bulli represents."

This money, earned mainly from consultancies and El-Bulli-related books, will now be spent establishing his new academy as "a place for free thinking and kicking around ideas". It will also fund the scholarships.

The demands of 15-hour days running the restaurant had also taken their toll, he added. "At that bestial pace, it would be impossible to continue."

For many years the restaurant closed for half the year to allow Mr Adrià and his chefs time to develop new techniques, and their labours have widely influenced "molecular gastronomy" over the years, with the chef Heston Blumenthal being the style's principal British proponent.

The Catalan chef arrived at El Bulli, which then served French food, in 1983. After taking control of the kitchen, by the 1990s he had transformed it into a laboratory for daring innovation.

The American chef Anthony Bourdain said of the recipes in the recent El Bulli cookery book: "Pastry chefs everywhere – when they see this – will gape in fear, and awe, and wonder. I feel for them; like Eric Clapton seeing Jimi Hendrix for the first time, one imagines they will ask themselves 'what do I know?'."

Among Mr Adrià's signature dishes are pine-nut marshmallows, steamed brioche with rose-scented mozzarella, rock mussels with seaweed and fresh herbs and passion fruit trees.

The restaurant will reopen after its winter break for six months in June this year, before closing for good in December 2011.

'A spoonful of pina colada'

Try this El Bulli recipe...

Ingredients: Half a pineapple, stabiliser, gelatine, coconut milk, cream, white rum, organic crystal sugar, freeze-dried pineapple chunks, one siphon, one nitrogen cylinder.

Liquidise the pineapple, heat to 160F, strain for six hours. Dissolve stabiliser in small amount of juice, heat to 185F, add gelatine, stir in remaining juice. Place in Pacojet sorbet-maker. Freeze.

For foam, mix coconut milk and cream, pour into siphon. Charge siphon with nitrogen cartridge, refrigerate for two hours. For rum jelly, dissolve gelatine into heated rum, leave to set.

To serve, place teaspoon of rum jelly on soup spoon. Garnish handle with pineapple chunks; sprinkle with sugar. Top with coconut foam, place on plate beside blob of sorbet.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This airport parking organisation are looking...

    Recruitment Genius: PCV Bus Drivers

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Do you enjoy bus driving and are looking for ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - York

    £18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - Y...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project