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.

Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform