If you are among the two million people who would have liked to expose their senses to the biggest revolution in cooking since the discovery of fire by visiting the legendary elBulli restaurant on Spain's Costa Brava, but didn't manage to do so before it closed two years ago, here comes a consolation: The Art of Food show in the Embankment Galleries of London's Somersethouse narrates the story of the elBulli restaurant and its protagonists in an engaging and well-executed exhibition.
Drawings and carefully crafted putty models preceded every new dish that Ferran Adria put on the table.
The work in the upper gallery focuses mainly on the molecular cooking techniques developed by Ferran Adria and his brother Albert Adria, whereas the lower showroom provides (via countless photographs and personal memrobilia) an intimate view into how the elBulli restaurant came into existence and how it developed over the years into the Mekka of New Cuisine. In the late 80's, chef and elBulli co-owner Ferran Adria's priority shifted from simply creating dishes, to create concepts and techniques that would be capable of making diners live experiences.
This giant meringue Bulli (french bulldog) was created for the final dinner at the elBulli restaurant in 2011. It's now on show in London's Somersethouse.
By doing so, he is an artist and a chemistry professor in equal measure (holding a honorary doctorate of Barcelona University), while being considered the most influential chef of the past two decades. To put it with the words of Richard Hamilton (a passionate disciple of Adria's cuisine): "Ferran did for cooking what Shakespeare did for language—he completely re-invented its vocabulary".
From 2009 onwards, every elBulli menu ended with this box of chocolates and sweet treats. Each box contained17 types of elaborations.
This table features a video projection of a full course dinner at the elBulli restaurant.
The putty model of Textured Vegetable Panache, a symbolic dish that marks the radically new approach that questioned everything previously taken for granted.
The founders of elBulli, Dr. Hans Schilling and his wife Marketta, owned several french bulldogs, which they fondly referred to as Bullis.
A battery-powered drill, a metal file and syringes are only a small selection of tools used by the elBulli team.
CAVIAROLI® is an encapsulated extra virgin olive oil. It smells and tastes like olive oil but looks like and has the texture of caviar.
Special dishes require special plates: Special tableware was created for every new dish, many of them commissions from various artists and designers.
When elBulli restaurant closed its doors in 2013, it marked the beginning of a new organisation called elBulli foundation, set to be one of the stellar knowledge spaces in a new paradigm of cooking. This is the architectural model of the brain storming pavilion at the foundation's premisses, due to be completed in 2015 on the elBulli restaurant site.