Ground-breaking chef Ferran Adria is on a quest to find the soul of Asian cooking, which could perhaps provide key hints for future gastronomic inventions from the man who brought the world culinary foam.
Considered the world’s best chef by several critics, Adria shut his restaurant El Bulli last month, pleading a need for transformation. It will re-open in 2014 as the El Bulli Foundation. “I don’t know much about Asia... it could be an archive of ideas,” said Adria while in Hong Kong. “You cannot get an influence from the cuisine of a country if you don’t understand it. And to understand it, you’ve got to study it,” he said. About 15 trips to Japan have helped him understand the country and its cuisine a little, but this has merely whetted his appetite for learning about the rest of the continent.
“I’ve looked at the soul of the cooking and the reason of things (in Japan) and then I started looking at cooking techniques. But I haven’t got to that point for the rest of Asia yet,” he added.
Taming the monster
At the final El Bulli dinner last month, Adria said the restaurant had become a “monster” that needed taming and transformation. He said, “It is to be a think tank where we will share everything that we create and divulge it around the world. It’s going to be a place for reflection.”
The upcoming El Bulli Foundation (in 2014), will be open to public. It will be a centre for new culinary inventions from the Catalan who gave the world paella made of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and gazpacho popsicles. Other initiatives could include exchanges of cooking techniques and ideas, part of the reason behind his current culinary quest — although he dismisses the idea of popular “fusion” cuisine as “a lie” and something that has always existed.