Ferran Adrià has become a leader in the sector and has asked for clear measures and further aid from the authorities.
He did so during the last presentation of San Sebastian Gastronomika 2020, revealing as a premiere that the second call of elBulli1846 will be back again.
Ferran Adrià closed the “most real” edition of Gastronomika -in the words of its protagonists- connecting from Cala Montjoi. From table 9 of what was the world’s best restaurant for five years, the genius of L’Hospitalet talked about the crisis and future with Benjamín Lara and also, mainly about the second call of elBulli1864. “I didn’t want to do it this early but I decided to dedicate it to cooking and the dining area”. So, from 1 April to 1 July 2021, up to twelve gastronomy professionals (chefs and dining room staff, and also producers, sommeliers…) “they will reflect upon innovation in the sector by studying the history of gastronomy”. Mainly using books of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, he remarked, “analysing them in order to generate new ideas. By using words, but cuisine is back in Cala Montjoi.
This will be the second call of elBulli 1864, the expository lab in which a group of professionals, will research and experiment to generate knowledge regarding the efficiency of innovation. At present, ten of them have been immersed in their work, “led by Ferran as their leader”. These were the words of Eli Puiggròs, qualitative researcher, innovation consultant and publicist, one of the ten new Bullinians. Adrià passed the baton on to her, and the Catalonian explained what she was working on: “I see how the Sapiens methodology can be taken to SMEs, to help them innovate efficiently”. She also gives a hand in a research project on the delivery of stews. That’s what elBulli1846 is all about.
Ferran Adrià wanted to present another of the new Bullinians, “helping businesses by using philosophy”. Victor Fernández, who is studying a Master’s in investigative philosophy at the University of Sorbonne in Paris. “I joined the project because of the freedom elBulli represents”, he explained coaxed on by Lana: “Formally, Ferran is a leader; informally, he’s a romantic who puts his dreams into practice”.
“The Administration has not treated the restaurant sector well”
Having presented some of the members of his team, Adrià took the floor to talk about the present “difficult” situation. “The current situation is a complete disaster, a horrible situation where we have gone from uncertainty to helplessness. Something much greater than a crisis”. Helpless, Adrià also showed his anger: “The role of the political management is quite strange, enough to drive you mad”. Feeling hurt, he demanded “greater sensitivity from the administrators. We have to protest more. We have been ill-treated and we have to denounce it”.
Lana spurred him on. Adrià continued: “I disagree that tourism is as bad as the Government says. We have to work in other sectors, but our restaurant system is a leader in innovation, and it seems as if we’re secondary. We have led the way and they do not value it” he criticised. If this continues, he ended, “the entire gastronomic quality network created over the last 25 years might disappear. If they do not help us, October next year will be dismal”.
The current situation and a difficult future, which Adrià exemplified in first person: “I performed a study: elBulli would have cost me 1 million euros in the current context. It’s devastating, but we have to forge on”. Globally, with the catering plan being used in Spain; individually, “studying each case and always seeking solutions with business plans”. Among these, he recognised, “I would trust take away more than delivery. If I had to set up a restaurant now, I would do it with a simple cuisine take away”.
“This Gastronomika sets a milestone”
He had finished his talk, he was closing the 22nd edition of San Sebastian Gastronomika, the first broadcast 100% online. “Spain was a pioneer in offline congresses, now due to you we are an online congress. All the new congress formats have to be created from here”, he encouraged everyone. He finished by saying: “Congratulations. You’ve created a format that is here to stay. This project will set a milestone in this sense”.
He then recalled that in the first congress he participated in “there were a lot of problems, but it lead the way to be followed by many others”. As he was saying it, the light went out…