For 24 years, Ferran Adrià ran elBulli, the restaurant/lab on the northeast coast of Spain that was widely acknowledged to be the world’s premier culinary destination. When he shut the restaurant in 2011 (not for business reasons, but because, creatively, he and his team felt they’d done all they could do in that format), he launched the madly ambitious elBullifoundation, a project concerned as much with exploring the creative process as cooking.
In fact, as Adrià mentions in the video here, the motto of the enterprise is “feeding creativity.” On the occasion of the release of the seven-volume catalog of food innovation, elBulli 2005-2011 (read more about it and see images here) Adrià spoke with us about the mission of the foundation, the nature of creativity, the critical importance of looking beyond one’s own discipline, and technology.
The foundation is a training and research center and all-round innovation lab that will live IRL at the site of the former elBulli and online.
Its elements include elBulli DNA a cooking and creativity lab that will bring together 40 people from various fields–architects, scientists, designers, as well as chefs–to study the creative process via the medium of food. The digital component, Bullipedia, is a mind-bendingly comprehensive culinary lexicon–Adrià describes it as a taxonomy of food, breaking down and classifying every culinary element. And there will be a long-term exhibit, elBull 1846 (the number of dishes that were created during the restaurant years) starting in October.
“On Oct 8 in Spain there will be an exhibition about the creative process,” says Adrià. “It’ll be one of the first times where (everyone from) a butcher to someone from NASA will compare their creative processes. And even though they may have different ways of working, in a way you’re bringing those two together. The idea is how you make the creative process better. What you can’t share is the talent these people have, but the process you can share.” He also hints that there might be a New York chapter of the foundation “With my love and connection to New York, I’d love the idea of doing something here,” he says.
In the video, Adrià talks about auditing creativity and the importance of time in the creative process.