ElBulli Update: Adrià not Closing his Restaurant Exactly, Just Reinventing It

Ferran Adrià knows how to control a news cycle like an immersion circulator, although he'd probably rather not be at the center of this one. Last week The New York Times broke the story that Adria's famed restaurant elBulli was closing permanently, only to have Adria refute the story in a Spanish newspaper the next day. Yesterday Time Magazine wrote that Adria won't close his restaurant, at least not exactly, so much as reinvent it. ElBulli will be turned into a a nonprofit foundation, a "think tank" where young chefs will explore new culinary directions.

elBulli Restaurant Flow Chart
elBulli Restaurant Flow Chart

"In the 25-year history of elBulli, there have been five moments of rupture, and now it's time for another," Adrià told Time. "The one thing we can't have is monotony." Adrià doesn't have to worry about that one, judging by the twitterstorm that greeted his initial announcement that he'd close elBulli for 2 years, then the news that he was closing the place for good, and now this. Contrary to previous reports, the chef and his and his business partner Juli Sole are not opening a culinary school. "This is about creativity more than cooking. We're not going to be teaching anyone how to break down a cod."

Adrià's foundation will instead grant fellowships to 2 dozen or so young chefs to spend a year at elBulli researching and exploring culinary ideas. Each year, the foundation will issue a book and a video documenting that research. The restaurant will also expand, adding a library and an audiovisual room. In the meantime, elBulli will be open in its current incarnation for 6 months both this year and next, then shut down until 2014. After it reopens, Adrià says that they'll still serve food--60 meals a year and possibly impromptu tastings--but the chef has not yet decided how they'll determine who gets to eat what and how. Of course, things may change. No monotony here.

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