The key moments in the history of elBulli, from its to the present day
Doctor Hans Schilling and his wife, Marketta, who have settled at Cala Montjoi, apply to the Roses town council for planning permission for a minigolf installation. For somewhat more than a year it functions as a minigolf only, but later a thatched hut is built in which a beach bar is installed.
A kitchen and a patio are built, and elBulli becomes a grillroom. From then on there is a succession of head chefs and maîtres, and thanks to the Schillings’ enthusiasm and love of gastronomy, the culinary options grow.
Jean-Louis Neichel comes to elBulli and takes over the restaurant and kitchen management. After one year, elBulli receives its first Michelin star. Neichel brings with him a different way of working and the first influences of nouvelle cuisine.
Juli Soler arrives as manager and within a short time Jean-Paul Vinay is installed as head chef. Two years later, elBulli receives its second Michelin star, and so becomes a prestigious restaurant.
In August 1983 Ferran Adrià arrives on work experience, for just one month, on leave from his military service. He is invited to return the following season as chef de partie and he accepts.
In March, Ferran Adrià joins the staff, and in November he takes over as joint head chef together with Christian Lutaud.
Albert Adrià joins the elBulli staff. He is to do a two-year apprenticeship, gaining experience in the different savoury stations.
One of the Michelin stars is removed.
Ferran Adrià becomes sole head chef.
Albert Adrià assumes responsibility for desserts. For over ten years he is to devote himself to becoming one of the most influential pastry chefs in avant-garde cuisine.
Ferran Adrià attends a talk in Cannes by Jacques Maximin, where he hears the phrase “Creativity means not copying”, which is to change his conception of cooking.
A 5-month restaurant closure in winter for the first time.
This period sees a renewal in the elBulli approach to cooking, with a modernization of the local traditions of Catalan and Spanish cuisine, giving rise to a “Mediterraneanisation” of the elBulli cuisine.
A Limited Company is set up to run the restaurant. Four years later, the land and building are purchased.
Money is spent on restoring the patio, building a car park and modernising the dining area.
The second Michelin star is regained.
The Academia Nacional de Gastronomía awards Juli Soler the National Prize for Best Maître d’.
Ferran Adrià receives the National Gastronomy Award for Best Head Chef.
Work finishes on the building of the new kitchen, providing the long-awaited amenities for developing the cuisine that the restaurant really wants.
Xavier Sacristà and Toni Gerez, chef and maître d’ respectively in elBulli, and collaborators with Juli and Ferran for several years, start a new career in the Mas Pau restaurant.
The book El Bulli. El Sabor del Mediterráneo is published, a reflection on the outlook on cooking between 1987 and 1993. The International Academy of Gastronomy names it the best book on cuisine d’auteur of 1993.
The development of technique-concept cuisine begins, in which techniques and concepts are the driving force for creativity. This is allied to the restaurant’s philosophy to start shaping increasingly personal styles and characteristics.
Cooking courses in Cala Montjoi, which will last until 1999 and serve to establish close contact with the opinions of the diners.
The International Academy of Gastronomy awards Ferran Adrià the Grand Prix de L’Art de la Cuisine.
Publication of Die neue Küche kataloniens, the German translation of El Bulli. El sabor del Mediterráneo.
The headquarters of elBullicatering is set up in Barcelona, under the management of Eduard Roigé.
Rafael García Santos gives elBulli his maximum rating, 9.75, in the first edition of the Lo mejor de la gastronomía guide.
The Gault-Millau guide, focusing solely on France, ventures over the border into Spain (a state of affairs which is to last for several years) and gives elBulli a rating of 19/20.
The Gault-Millau guide awards elBulli the Clé d’Or de la Gastronomie and the Club de Gourmets magazine names it Restaurant of the Year.
Albert Adrià leaves elBulli for half a season to take a breather and get down to writing what is to be his first book, Los Postres de El Bulli, which takes him a year and a half.
The elBullitaller project begins to take shape in the headquarters of elBullicatering. The prime function of elBullitaller is creating and testing – in short, the search for new concepts, techniques and recipes for each new season.
From now on, Ferran Adrià, in collaboration with Chocovic (a collaboration which is to last until 2006), begins to develop his work as a consultant to quality brands. He carries out this task with two ex-chefs from elBulli, Marc Cuspinera and Eduard Bosch.
Monthly collaboration with Woman magazine.
Third Michelin star awarded.
Ferran receives the Catalonia Tourism Merit Medal, awarded by the Generalitat de Catalunya.
Albert Adrià takes over as manager of elBullitaller, without losing contact with the daily routine at the restaurant. He goes to Cala Montjoi for the first three months of each new season.
Publication of Los Postres de elBulli by Albert Adrià, Los secretos de elBulli, Cocinar en 10 minutos con Ferran Adrià, Las 50 nuevas tapas and 70 platos nuevos y ligeros para el verano, the last two for Woman magazine.
The beginning of collaboration with the Casino Gran Círculo de Madrid, creating a cuisine for the La Terraza restaurant, aimed at maintaining this establishment’s particular style.
Consultancy work for the Hacienda Benazuza hotel, with the objective of expanding the elBulli magic to 24 hours a day.
Gourmetour awards Juli Soler its Best Maître d’ prize.
Publication of the book Celebrar el milenio con Arzak y Adrià.
Collaboration with Aceites Borges in research into oils and dried fruit and nuts, an early result being 10 natural aromatic oils.
Beginning of collaboration with Catalunya Ràdio, which is to last until 2005.
Ferran Adrià on the cover of the El País Semanal magazine, which represents a turning point in the public’s appreciation of his work.
Ferran is awarded the Chef of the Year prize by Gourmetour.
The dream becomes reality: elBullitaller moves to Portaferrissa 7. An environment for cultivating everything to do with creativity.
Publication of Bulli Japan, the first elBulli book in Japan.
elBullicatering is set up in Madrid, housed in the Casino Gran Círculo de Madrid.
Selection and creation of recipes for Kaiku Gran Cocina, for high quality packaged products, together with Juan Mari Arzak, Pedro Subijana and Karlos Arguiñano. This work goes on till 2006.
Cacao Sampaka opens, with Albert Adrià as a founding partner. In 2006 he ends his association with this company.
Preparation of the trilogy that examines the preceding 20 years of elBulli cuisine: elBulli1983-1993, elBulli1994-1997 and elBulli1998-2002. Three books (each accompanied by a CD-Rom containing recipes and diagrams) which examine the evolution of this period, organised into two parts: a catalogue of photographs and an evolutionary analysis, affording an informal yet practical view of our style. These will be followed later by elBulli2003, elBulli2004 and elBulli2005.
Collaboration with Caprabo in the development of new products and concepts for supermarkets, the future of food shopping and cooking at home. This collaboration lasts until 2006.
Ferran Adrià leads an ambitious R & D project with the NH Hoteles chain, devoted to creating and implementing new medium and long-term concepts in its establishments.
Collaboration in the design of Ola dishware, with Gemma Bernal and Cerámicas Mongatina (CIM).
Publication in Spanish and Catalan of elBulli1998-2002, the first volume of the General Catalogue.
The opening of elBulliCarmen, to concentrate on business initiatives, leaving elBullitaller to dedicate itself exclusively to culinary creativity.
Collaboration with Lavazza in the study and development of new products related to coffee. The first result, in 2003, is Èspesso, followed by Passion>Me in 2004 and Lyocafé in 2005.
Ferran Adrià receives the Creu de Sant Jordi from the Generalitat de Catalunya. Both the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Spanish Government award Ferran Adrià and Juli Soler their Gold Medals for Tourism.
Restaurant Magazine rates elBulli the World’s Top Restaurant.
Publication of elBulli1998-2002 in English, French, Italian, Japanese and German and elBulli1994-1997 in Spanish and Catalan.
Publication of Cocinar en Casa con Caprabo y Ferran Adrià.
Opening of the first NHube, a concept created by Ferran Adrià and run by NH Hoteles, with the aim of creating an environment in which guests can eat, read, relax, log on to the internet – in short, feel at home.
The readers of El Periódico de Cataluña newspaper pick Ferran Adrià for the Catalan of the Year award, and the Barcelona City Council awards him the City of Barcelona prize.
The same year, he is appointed chairman of the Bocuse d’Or jury.
Cover of The New York Times Magazine, a turning point in public appreciation of elBulli and Spanish cuisine in general.
Publication of elBulli1983-1993 in Spanish and Catalan. Publication in France of El Bulli: Texte et prétexte à textures – Soler et Adria dans leur contexte, written by Óscar Caballero, which is subsequently published in Spanish.
Release of the La Cocina Fácil de Ferran Adrià collection, 11 DVDs with interviews, episodes and recipes.
The start of Ferran Adrià and elBulli’s involvement in welfare causes, with the setting up of the Alicia Foundation (Alimentación [food] and Ciencia [science]), with Ferran as chair of the Advisory Committee. This is a project of Caixa Manresa at the Monastery of Sant Benet, aimed at promoting improved nutrition for the future.
The first Fast Good restaurant opens, set up jointly with NH Hoteles, which this hotel chain is responsible for running.
Market launch of vinaigrettes created by Ferran Adrià for Borges.
The birth of the first contemporary cocktails for J&B whisky’s Nightology, a division of the Diageo Group.
Ferran Adrià is appointed an Ambassador of the Spain Brand, in the culture category, by Leading Brands of Spain Forum (FMRE). The City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat names him an Honorary Son of the City.
Ferran Adrià is placed on the supplement magazine cover of the Le Monde Sunday newspaper, which following his appearance in The New York Times Magazine marks the recognition of the elBulli cuisine in a gastronomic culture as influential as France’s.
Cover of Time Magazine, with Ferran Adrià named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.
The Spanish Royal Household chooses Ferran Adrià together with Juan Mari Arzak to prepare the gala dinner served to the world’s royal families on the eve of the wedding of Prince Felipe to Letizia Ortiz. The menu is prepared together with Paco Roncero, head chef at La Terraza del Casino in Madrid.
Publication of elBulli2003 and elBulli2004 in Spanish.
The Ferran Adrià Chair in Gastronomic Culture and Food Sciences is set up at the Universidad Camilo José Cela in Madrid.
Creation of the Ferran Adrià by Armand Basi collection, for textile tableware, t-shirts and chef’s outfits.
Launch of Faces, in collaboration with top Spanish designers, for the development of kitchenware and tableware.
Collaborations with Caillers (a division of Nestlé) for the development of chocolate products; two United Biscuit companies, Fontaneda for the development of new biscuits, and Fruco, to give impetus to the world of fruit juices; and Lays, a collaboration that would finish at the end of 2006.
At Madrid Fusión, Ferran Adrià presents a “Synthesis of our cuisine”, 23 items that aim to sum up elBulli’s cooking philosophy.
Publication in Spanish of elBulli2005. Publication of elBulli1994-1997 in English, French and German and elBulli2003 and elBulli2004 in Catalan, English, French and German.
Documenta at Kassel invites Ferran Adrià to take part in 2007.
In collaboration with the Alicia Foundation, publication of the Léxico científico gastronómico (scientific dictionary of gastronomy).
Albert Adrià opens the Inopia Classic Bar in Barcelona, a traditional tapas establishment.
60 journalists from all over the world, meeting at the Madrid Fusión conference, publish a list of the ten most influential chefs during the last ten years. Ferran Adrià is at the head of the list.
Restaurant Magazine names elBulli the World’s Best Restaurant. For the first time the jury consists of over 500 critics, gourmets and chefs from all over the world.
In November Ferran Adrià is awarded the Lucky Strike Award by the Raymond Loewy Foundation. It is one of the most important design awards in the world.
In March, in Stockholm, Ferran Adrià receives the White Guide Global Gastronomy Award.
For the second consecutive year (and the third in total following the award received in 2002), a jury composed of more than 500 critics, cooks and gourmets from all over the world under the auspices of The Restaurant Magazine chooses elBulli as the Best Restaurant in the World.
Ferran Adrià lends his voice to a character in the cartoon film Ratatouille, from Pixar and Walt Disney Productions.
The First International Gastronomy Award Reyno de Navarra, an award pertaining to the first international congress celebrating the role of vegetables, held in Pamplona.
Two books are published, Un día en elBulli (One day in elBulli), edited by elBullibooks, and elBulli desde dentro (elBulli from inside). Biografía de un restaurante (Biography of a restaurant), written by Xavier Moret and published by RBA, which receives the Sent Soví Award for gastronomic literature in 2006.
In June he receives the European Merit Gold Medal, awarded by the Fundación del Mérito Europeo of the European Community. Together with the chef Léa Linster, it is the first time that this award has been received by a chef.
The Spanish Ministry of Culture awards Ferran Adrià the Merit Gold Medal in the Fine Arts.
On 16th June, Kassel opens the contemporary arts exhibition Documenta 12, where Ferran Adrià appears as an invited artist. The contribution consists of turning elBullirestaurante, in Cala Montjoi, into the pavilion G of Documenta, an event giving scope for reflection on the worlds of art and cuisine.
On 27th June, the De Dietrich home cooking appliances company launches a show room, exhibiting seven still-life paintings inspired by elBulli creations, as well as two art videos produced by Vicenç Asensio and an installation made by Luki Huber.
In autumn the headquarters of the Alicia Foundation is opened in Sant Benet del Bages, near Manresa.
In December 2007, the Faculty of Chemistry of the Universitat de Barcelona confers Doctor Honoris Causa on Ferran Adrià.
In February, Ferran takes part in a debate at the Berlinale film festival, at which two films inspired by his career are shown in the culinary cinema section.
The University of Harvard (USA) carries out a case study of Ferran Adrià, investigating artistic creativity.
Once again (for the third consecutive year, and the fourth time taking the 2002 award into account), The Restaurant Magazine, presents elBulli the award of The World´s Best Restaurant, in the month of March.
Albert Raurich, the head chef at elBulli in recent years, opens dos palillos, an Asian tapas bar, in Barcelona.
In June, the home appliances company De Dietrich opens a show-room, in which an exhibition is organised demonstrating the various techniques that can be applied to a food product, based on the experience of elBulli.
In July, the University of Aberdeen confers Doctor Honoris Causa in Humanities on Ferran Adrià.
In October, Phaidon publishes A Day at elBulli, a 600-page book appearing in different languages.
In October, Albert Adrià publishes his book Natura, an aesthetic and culinary experience in a book of his desserts based on nature.
In December, the Science Department of the University of Harvard, on the one hand and Ferran Adrià and Alicia Foundation on the other, sign a collaboration agreement for communication between science and cuisine. As a result of this agreement, a course on science and cuisine starts in Harvard in September 2010.
The book A day at elBulli is launched by Ferran Adrià and Juli Soler on a worldwide tour. The promotion, that leads them to the United States, Australia, France, Great Britain, Japan etc. will be the means to give an understanding of the cuisine carried out at elBulli at forums such as the New York Library and Google headquarters.
In March, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) awards Ferran Adrià the “Augie” for best chef. This is the most prestigious institution in the world for culinary and confectionery arts.
For the fourth consecutive year, and the fifth altogether, The Restaurant Magazine presents elBulli with the award for best restaurant in the world after a vote by over five hundred experts.
In April, the book Menjar per pensar, pensar per menjar is launched. This book, edited by Richard Hamilton and Vicenç Todolí and published by Actar, gathers thoughts on Ferran Adrià’s participation in Documenta 12 in Kassel and on the connection between cuisine and the world of art.
In June, the musical composition Le livre des illusions (hommage à Ferrán Adrià) by French composer Bruno Mantovani is presented at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The musical piece is inspired by one of the menus at elBulli.
In October elBulli – Historia de un sueño is put on sale. It is a collection of ten DVDs that gathers the history of elBulli and through this a general audiovisual catalogue is created.
In October, the Ferran Adrià International Scholarship is created, promoted by the town council of l’Escala, the group Joves Cuiners (Young Chefs) and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Generalitat de Catalunya, in order to raise the profile of Catalan gastronomy in the world.
Between January and February, Ferran Adrià announces that, after two years of reflection, elBulli will reopen in 2014 under a new format focused on the exploration of the limits of creativity.
The Restaurant Magazine awards Ferran Adrià the San Pellegrino prize which honours it him as the best chef of the decade.
In April, the Universitat de Barcelona presents the UB – Ferran Adrià with Gallina Blanca Award designed to distinguish the best research projects based on food, nutrition, cuisine and gastronomy.
The Food Technology Department of the Universitat Politècnica de València confers Doctor Honoris Causa on Ferran Adrià and on the pâtissier Paco Torreblanca.
Ferran Adrià is the Tourism Ambassador for the Spain brand in Asian, North American and European markets. He is also involved in Catalan tourism advertising campaigns.
The translation of Le magicien d’El Bulli: Une biographie de Ferran Adrià by the German journalist and writer Manfred Weber-Lamberdière is published in Spain. The book, which already has German, French, Korean and Brazilian editions has attained notable sales success in these countries.
Ferran – The Inside Story of elBulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food by Colman Andrews appears in the bookshops. This book offers a general view of Ferran Adrià’s history and his contribution to avant-garde cuisine.
In July, the International Advisory Committee of the Basque Culinary Center is established. It is chaired by Ferran Adrià and is formed by some of the most influential chefs in the world.
In October, Ferran Adrià signs an alliance agreement with Telefónica in order to turn elBulli into the world’s top laboratory in creativity and innovation. Ferran will be named best Brand Ambassador for the next 4 years.
La cocina de la salud is published. This book, written by Ferran Adrià and the prestigious cardiologist Valentí Fuster, is a guide to encourage a healthy lifestyle whilst appreciating food.
In November, the worldwide release of the film elBulli – Cooking in Progress, a German production directed by Gereon Wetzel, takes place at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).
Albert and Ferran Adrià open both Tickets – La vida tapa and 41º on Avinguda del Paral·lel in Barcelona, a tapas establishment and a cocktail bar, in collaboration with the Iglesias’ brothers from the restaurant Rías de Galicia.
The exhibition “La cocina en su tinta” opens at the Biblioteca Nacional de España. rganised by Ferran Adrià, Isabel Moyano and Carmen Simón Palmer, it is a tour through food down the centuries, examining the best way to cook and consume them.
The architectural project for works to the elBulli restaurant site are presented. This takes place first at Madrid Fusion and subsequently in Roses, in the presence of the local community and business people.
Ferran Adrià participates for the last time at a gastronomy congress, at the Fòrum Gastronòmic de Girona.
A Master’s degree course in Art and Cooking is opened at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona as a result of the dialogue between the art world and elBulli.
An exhibition titled El arte de comer: de la naturaleza muerta a Ferran Adrià (The Art of Eating: from ‘still life’ to Ferran Adrià) is inaugurated in La Pedrera, Barcelona showing from March to June, and exploring the intricate relationship between art and food and its evolution over the centuries.
Three new books about elBulli are published: The Sorcerer’s Apprentices by Lisa Abend; L’art des mets. A philosophe à elBulli by Jean-Paul Jouary; and The Fragile Feast: Routes to Ferran Adrià by Hannah Collins.
On June 30, 2011 the last dinner service in the history of elBulli restaurant takes place. The site is destined to become a foundation. The event is portrayed in a documentary entitled The Last Waltz.
Subscribe to our Newsletter