Chef Ferran Adria Reveals Creative Process

  • The exhibit opened Oct. 29 at the Espacio Fundaci贸n Telef贸nica in Madrid.

    The exhibit opened Oct. 29 at the Espacio Fundaci贸n Telef贸nica in Madrid.

  • A display of every dish the restaurant ever served.

    A display of every dish the restaurant ever served.

  • 'All I have done is look back analyse and every step we took,' said Adri脿 of the exhibit.

    'All I have done is look back analyse and every step we took,' said Adri脿 of the exhibit.

  • The exhibit is the Catalan chef's first in Milan and largest to date.

    The exhibit is the Catalan chef's first in Milan and largest to date.

  • Adri脿 in front of a map of his creative process, which the exhibit's floor plan mimics.

    Adri脿 in front of a map of his creative process, which the exhibit's floor plan mimics.

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It鈥檚 hard to believe that it鈥檚 been three years since ElBulli served its last meal. At the height of its innovation and fame, repeatedly hailed as the best restaurant in the world, ElBulli’s聽head chef Ferran Adri脿 closed its doors, saying that its 30-course menus were no longer a challenge, and it was time for the next step. Well, his most recent forward motion is a new exhibit, Ferran Adri脿: Auditing the Creative Process, on view at the Fundaci贸n Telef贸nica in Madrid until March 1. It鈥檚 the first exhibition that focuses solely on his creative process, and it鈥檚 also his largest exhibition to date, charting 25 years of the restaurant鈥檚 history with more than 1,000 photographs, models, books, and drawings as well as animations, art installations, and an audiovisual display of every dish ever created at the restaurant鈥攁ll 1,846 of them. As Adri脿鈥檚 good friend British artist Richard Hamilton said of his frequent visits to the restaurant, 鈥淟ooking at and tasting the succession of dishes on the menu at ElBulli is an experience that is as aesthetic as looking at a painting.鈥 Think of Auditing as Adri脿鈥檚 retrospective.

The exhibition took more than a year to create by a team of designers, data technicians, artists, and the like, joining forces to immerse visitors in Adri脿鈥檚 creative universe. A drawing he made of the one-word question 鈥淲hy?鈥 is repeated throughout, reinforcing his continual challenge of what it means to cook and, in turn, what it means to eat. The floor plan of the exhibition is cleverly laid out as a map of his creative process, so visitors can walk through each step, learning everything from how the staff worked to achieve its hyper-efficiency to how Adri脿 and his team developed some of the restaurant’s most legendary dishes, such as disappearing ravioli. Some 4,000 hours were put into the development of each of ElBulli鈥檚 menus, and here, visitors get a glimpse into what all that time was spent doing and how cooking evolved into something else entirely in the process.

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