Inspired by our enduring unwritten philosophy, we believed, and continue to believe, that the ambience of elBulli was unique.
Juli Soler is born in Terrassa, Barcelona, the son of Paquita and Juli. His father, the maître d’hôtel in a small spa, instils in him a passion for good service and attention to guests, along with the importance of a good relationship with them in the dining room and during their stay at the hotel. Juli shares this passion with his father and spends every weekend at the spa assisting him. At the same time, he starts school in the Escuela Pia and later finishes his Business studies at the Escuela Cultura Práctica in Terrassa.
He enters the restaurant business at a very young age, working for Miquel Ristol, who employs him in 1962 as an assistant waiter at the Gran Casino de Terrassa. In 1963 he leaves home, finding employment as an assistant bartender in the prestigious Chalet del Golf in Puigcerdà. At only 14 years old, following the recommendation of the restaurant’s chef, Mr. Ferrer, Josep Julià employs him in the renowned Reno restaurant in Barcelona. A year later, after considering the possibility of working on a luxury cruise liner, he finally opts to participate in his parents’ new business venture, managing the works canteen of the Josa factory in Rubí, a manufacturer of electrical equipment.
Deciding not to continue his studies and uninterested in sport, Juli follows his principal interests of music and travel. Someone has to look after the music at parties, and so he becomes a club pioneer. Along with running two venues, he opens a record store called Transformer selling the R&B, soul and rock music that he imports, supplying new sounds and influencing and informing for more than a decade. In 1980 he closes the Transformer record store and decides to change his life.
In 1981, the owners of the Hacienda El Bulli, Marketta and Hans Schilling offer him the position of managing their establishment in Cala Montjoi. Juli accepts, undertaking beforehand to travel Europe dining at top restaurants to study the market. These trips help him to understand his role in the restaurant in his new endeavour. He also does a stage in a two-starred Michelin restaurant in Germany to get to know the internal workings of a type of restaurant unusual in Spain.
Juli Soler remembers it like this:
At that time, a table at elBulli was different from those in other restaurants throughout Spain. Even the cutlery, glassware and tableware were imported from Germany and were inspired by the great restaurants of the time, belonging to Alain Chapel, Jacques Pic and others. The table service, the attention to diners, and the way in which the restaurant was managed, were also based on these models.
…Doctor Schilling suggested I travel intensely for two months, visiting the best restaurants in France, Belgium and Germany. Upon my return, in mid-March 1981, I was ready to face my first season as manager.
… elBulli was a lovely place, getting there was an adventure, but thanks to the word of mouth recommendations of our customers, Germans, French and many Catalans came to try our cuisine, which, although very different from today, was already at the forefront of European trends. Jean-Paul Vinay’s menu was much more in the line of nouvelle cuisine, with slight influences from his hometown Lyon, and from the Michel Guérard restaurant, one of the last places he had worked. Added to all this was the superb quality of the products of our region: the best locally-grown vegetables, exquisite fish and seafood, etc. And then, of course, there was our philosophy, our desire above all, to provide the diner with pleasure, so that they would leave satisfied and happy. In fact, inspired by our enduring unwritten philosophy, we believed, and continue to do so, that the ambience of elBulli was unique.
From 1984, Juli’s path joins up with Ferran Adrià’s. Together they transform elBulli into a restaurant that becomes considered a reference in the world of haute cuisine.
elBullirestaurante closes its doors to become elBullifoundation.
elBullifoundation is created, a private family-run foundation promoted by Ferran Adrià and Juli Soler. Juli Soler is the honorary president until he passes away.
In 2010, the idea of elBullifoundation is born from a desire to transform elBullirestaurante through a vision of the future that continues promoting innovation and creativity using the language of cuisine, leaving a legacy to society.
Married to Marta Sala. They have three children together, Panxo, Rita and Júlia.
He passes away on July 6, 2015 at his home, surrounded by his family.
The Galaxy is the business model of Juli Soler, Ferran Adrià and Albert Adrià concerning elBullirestaurante. In 1998, a key decision was taken as to how the business model should be, making a conceptual change based on the following premise: keeping elBullirestaurante at the cutting-edge. To give us the necessary freedom to do this, a business model for elBullirestaurante was created, based on consultancy and image work, and the formation of our own business lines.
1997 – Collaboration with the creative team of Chocovic in ventures related to chocolate.
1999 – R & D, and creation of vinaigrettes, sauces and aromatic olive oils in partnership with Borges
2000 – Study and creation of soups and dairy products for Kaiku, together with Juan Mari Arzak, Karlos Arguiñano and Pedro Subijana.
2001 – Collaboration with Caprabo in several publishing and consultancy projects.
2002 – Collaboration with Lavazza, for the creation of products and concepts related to coffee.
2004 – Innovations in the world of cocktails, with Diageo
2005 – Texturas, a line of products selected by elBullitaller, to bring new elaborations to the kitchen.
2005 – Working on new creations in chocolate with the architect Jean Nouvel and the team of Cailler, a company in the Nestlé group.
2005 – A new range of potato crisps, and other ideas for aperitif concepts in collaboration with the R & D department of Frito Lays, of the Pepsico company.
2007 – R & D in fruit juices and cookies, with United Biscuits.
2008 – Creation of Inedit, in collaboration with the team of Damm master brewers. A ground-breaking new line of beer that, for its elegance and ability to accompany the great variety of flavours existing in modern gastronomy, offers an alternative to wine.
1986 – ElBulli Bistrot opens in the Pasarela nightclub in Empuriabrava (Roses).
1989 – Consultancy work for Bel-Air, Chévere, Network and Samoa restaurants (Barcelona), along with Can Bosch (Cambrils).
1990 – Consultancy work for Reina de España restaurant (Puerto Rico).
1992 – Consultancy work for the Bernat II Hotel (Calella).
1993 – The Ñam-Ñam self-service restaurant opens at the same time as Dim-Sum, a European dim-sum concept restaurant. Both at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona.
1993 – A collaboration with Semon begins, which lasts one year.
1994 – Mas Pau restaurant opens, in Avinyonet de Puigventós (Figueres), run by Xavier Sagristà and Toni Gerez.
1995 – ElBullicatering is born, in which the cuisine, philosophy and service of elBulli is transferred to the world of catering.
1999 – Creation of elBullihotel, whose first project is the Hacienda Benazuza hotel, where consultancy work is also undertaken for the gastronomic offer of the hotel.
2001 – Commencing a collaboration with NH Hoteles, which bears fruit with two projects: Nhube and Fast Good.
2010 – Tickets. In collaboration with Albert Adrià; a re-imagining of the concept of contemporary tapas.
From 2011 on…
2015 – Heart Ibiza. In collaboration with Albert Adrià and the founder of Cirque du Soleil; a multidisciplinary project which allows us to explore the limits of what a restaurant is.
1998 –With ICC company, state-of-the-art kitchen utensils and appliances, including the siphon, are manufactured and commercialised.
2001 – Creation of Ola dishware with designer Gemma Bernal, produced by CIM, which became a success in the restaurant business.
2004 – Agreement with Armand Basi to create tablecloths and textile tableware products related to the world of cooking.
2004 – Creation of Faces, producing cutlery, kitchenware and utensils for table service, in a joint collaboration with some great names in Spanish design.
More than 15,000 pages of content
More than 8,000 images
6 CDs with 1,846 recipes
2009 – General Audio-visual Catalogue in 9 episodes, in collaboration with Televisión Española
2009 – A Day at elBulli
2011 – Documenting Documenta
In close collaboration
2009 – elBulli – Cooking in progress
2011 – elBulli, Last Waltz
Best maître d’. Awarded by Academia Nacional de Gastronomía.
Best maître d’ in Spain. Awarded by Gourmetour guide.
…in addition to the many acknowledgements he received both in his lifetime and posthumously.
The efficiency, effectiveness and creative longevity of the elBulli model has attracted the attention of numerous business schools, which have carried out research and made case studies of Ferran Adrià and elBulli: Columbia, Harvard, ESADE Business School, IESE, Berkeley, London Business School, among others..
He is the co-author of more than 30 books (see annex).
…in addition to a large number of documentaries broadcasted on television channels throughout the world.