Ferran Adrià i Acosta (Catalan pronunciation: [fəˈran əðɾiˈa]) is a Catalan Spanish chef born on May 14, 1962 in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat (Catalonia). He was the head chef of the elBulli restaurant in Roses on the Costa Brava and is considered one of the best chefs in the world.
Ferran Adrià began his culinary career in 1980 during his stint as a dishwasher at the Hotel Playafels, in the town of Castelldefels. The chef de cuisine at this hotel taught him traditional Spanish cuisine. At 19 he was drafted into military service where he worked as a cook. In 1984, at the age of 22, Adrià joined the kitchen staff of El Bulli as a line cook. Eighteen months later he became the head chef.
In 1994, Ferran Adrià and Juli Soler (his partner) sold 20% of their business to Miquel Horta (a Catalan millionaire and philanthropist and son of the founder of Nenuco) for 120 million Pesetas. This event became a turning point for el Bulli: the money was used to finance an expansion of the kitchen and the relationship with Horta opened the door to new clients, businessmen, and politicians who helped spread the word about the creative experimentation happening at the time in Cala Montjoi.
Along with British chef Heston Blumenthal, Adrià is often associated with "molecular gastronomy," although like Blumenthal the Catalan chef does not consider his cuisine to be of this category. Instead, he has referred to his cooking as deconstructivist. He defines the term as 'Taking a dish that is well known and transforming all its ingredients, or part of them; then modifying the dish's texture, form and/or its temperature. Deconstructed, such a dish will preserve its essence... but its appearance will be radically different from the original's.' His stated goal is to "provide unexpected contrasts of flavour, temperature and texture. Nothing is what it seems. The idea is to provoke, surprise and delight the diner." As he likes to say, "the ideal customer doesn't come to elBulli to eat but to have an experience."
ElBulli was only open for about six months of the year, from mid-June to mid-December. Adrià spent the remaining six months of the year perfecting recipes in the workshop "elBulliTaller" in Barcelona. The restaurant closed on July 30, 2011. It will reopen as a creativity center in 2014.
ElBulli had 3 Michelin stars and was one of the best restaurants in the world. It received first place in the Restaurant Top 50 in 2002. Then in 2005, it ranked second. It was again awarded the first place in 2006, and retained this title in 2007, 2008 and 2009, making a record 5 times in the top spot. In 2010, after elBulli announced it would close for good the next season, the title was awarded to Noma of Copenhagen, Denmark.