World’s Best Restaurant: ‘El Bulli’ Closes, Will Reopen in 2014 as “Culinary Think Tank”
El Bulli, the beachside Spanish eatery repeatedly crowned the world’s best restaurant, will close its doors this weekend after pushing the boundaries of cuisine for more than two decades under superchef Ferran Adria.
Located in Cala Montjoi, some two hours north of Barcelona, the restaurant – which seats 50 at a time but fields 2 million reservation requests a year – was only open 6 months out of the year.
During the other 6 months, Adria and his staff would carefully prepare the next season’s 30-course prix-fixe menu, which was intended to be patiently consumed over the time span of three hours.
Adria, whose radical innovations since he became the head chef at El Bulli in 1987 include foie grass noodles and potato foam, explained that his Michelin 3-star restaurant wasn’t permanently shutting down shop, but would re-open in 2014 as, the El Bulli Foundation, a non-profit culinary think tank that will investigate new cooking techniques and develop new flavors.
The El Bulli foundation plans to grant between 20 and 25 scholarships annually for chefs to spend a year working with El Bulli’s core staff. It will share its ideas and findings on the Internet.
“El Bulli is not closing, it is transforming itself, because its soul is going to remain,” he told a group of students in Valencia earlier this month.