elBulli: Ferran Adrià and The Art of Food
This summer, Somerset House hosted a major retrospective exhibition on a global icon of gastronomy, Ferran Adrià, and the restaurant he built to become the world’s best, elBulli. In partnership with Estrella Damm, elBulli: Ferran Adrià and The Art of Food was the world’s first exhibition dedicated to a chef and his restaurant. The retrospective showcased the art of cuisine and cuisine as art by taking a behind-the-scenes look at the legendary laboratory and kitchen of the internationally renowned restaurant, which delighted diners in Cala Montjoi, a small picturesque bay on the Catalan coast near Roses, for over 50 years.
Charting the evolution of elBulli, the exhibition featured an in-depth, multimedia display of each of the essential ingredients that make up the culinary creative mastermind of Ferran Adrià and his team: research (handwritten notes and hand-drawn sketches); preparation (plasticine models, which were made for all the dishes served as a means for quality control of colour, portion size and position on the plate, and the specially-designed utensils used); presentation (original tasting menus, cutlery laid on the tables and salivating shots of the creations taken from the catalogue to be published by Phaidon next year), and plaudits (original restaurant reviews and other press clippings). Combined with archive footage of the chefs and clientele, the exhibition’s ephemera are testament to Adrià’s abundant talent, genius and ambition.
Adrià said of the Somerset House show: “Even though the restaurant of elBulli is now closed, the spirit of elBulli is still very much alive and this exhibition is one of the ways of keeping it so. For some, I hope it will revive good memories, and for others it will give a flavour of a fine dining experience like no other. Overall, it is an ode to the creativity, imagination, innovation, talent and teamwork of everyone at elBulli, but especially the world-famous chefs who trained with us and took these values into their own restaurants around the world.
“I am delighted to be presenting it in London at the prestigious Somerset House, another creative hub which, like elBulli, always invites you to try something new and perhaps a little unpredictable.”
elBulli: Ferran Adrià and The Art of Food was generously supported by the beer of Barcelona, Estrella Damm.