My Secret Life: Ferran Adria, chef, 49


My parents are... Gines, who is a retired painter and plasterer, and Josefa, a housewife.

The house/flat I grew up in... was a small house in a normal, middle-class neighbourhood in L'Hospitalet. The house has since been converted into flats, and my parents still live in one of them. So I haven't lost my connection to the neighbourhood I grew up in.

When I was a child I wanted to... be a footballer for FC Barcelona. When I was a teenager my idol was the Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff. He's the only person I've ever asked for an autograph.

If I could change one thing about myself...I don't worry about the things I can't change.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... lying on the beach, doing nothing at all.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... making my bed. It's something I've never been able to do and that I hate doing.

At night I dream of... I don't dream at night; life has given me the stuff I need to be able to dream during the day. I'm very lucky.

What I see when I look in the mirror... That the years go by, even though I feel the same way I did when I was 25.

My favourite item of clothing... is very plain: a black T-shirt.

It's not fashionable but I like... the Catalan rumba.

I drive... I have a driver's licence, but the truth is that I hardly ever drive. I prefer to get around by taxi.

My house is... I have a studio in Barcelona – it's small but has everything I need. In Roses, I live next to the restaurant. But they're really just places to sleep. My home is wherever I travel to. I spend six months of the year in Roses and the other six months in Barcelona with Isabel, my wife. This means that we're not together every day of the year, so it feels like we're permanently in the early courtship stage of a relationship.

My favourite work of art... is a painting by Joan Miro.

My favourite building... is the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. I think it's very beautiful, simple, elegant.

My secret crush is... the French actress Isabelle Adjani.

Movie heaven... Apocalypse Now, by Francis Ford Coppola. It's a film I'd never get tired of watching.

A book that changed me... Perfume by Patrick Suskind.

The last album I bought/downloaded... I was recently given Pascal Comelade's last album as a present. It's wonderful. He's an incredibly original musician.

My greatest regret... Again, my philosophy on this is very clear: I don't worry at all about the things I can't change.

My real-life villains... Unfortunately there are lots of 'baddies' in real life.

The person who really makes me laugh... is my mother. I don't know anyone else with a sense of humour like hers.

The last time I cried... I can't remember.

My five-year plan... is to make El Bulli, the restaurant, into the El Bulli Foundation, so that we can be at the forefront of seeking out the best conditions to nurture creativity.

What's the point? Loving life.

My life in six words... Isabel, parents, brother, friends, health, cooking.

A life in brief

Ferran Adria was born on 14 May 1962 in L'Hospitalet, Spain. After dropping out of school he worked at various restaurants and ran his first kitchen during his military service. In 1983, he began working at the restaurant El Bulli, becoming head chef the following year. In 1997, El Bulli was awarded a third Michelin star, and was voted the Best Restaurant in the World in 2002 and from 2006 to 2009. In 2010, Adria was awarded Best Chef of the Decade. He lives between Roses and Barcelona with his wife, Isabel

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