2013 International Chef of the Year: Albert Adrià
Do you consider 41º to be a continuation of the spirit of elBulli, allowing diners to taste dishes that they could imagine eating at the restaurant?
I worked for 23 years at elBulli, and elBulli forms part of my life. Certainly, 41º is the place that could be the most alike, but there are huge differences. At elBulli we worked to be the best. At 41º I simply focus on people to make them enjoy good cuisine. Furthermore, I think we are inheriting a unique style that to some extent is a prolongation of elBulli but one that isn’t willing to imitate it.
You have described Bodega 1900 as the restaurant you would have opened in 1900 if you’d have been alive. If you could time-travel, what era would you want to visit, and where?
If we’re talking about gastronomy, the Viking banquets, Roman bacchanals, Renaissance dinners, lavish banquets at the French Court. Now those would not have been bad at all…
You have opened a Peruvian-Japanese restaurant and are planning a Mexican restaurant. What other cuisines interest you enough that you might consider?
The Mexican restaurant is going to open at the end of April of 2014. I’m interested in all kind of cuisines, but the question is which is the one that is of the most interest to customers? I really like Chinese cuisine, with its inexhaustible recipes that are able to create the most incredible things.
You’ve recently received Michelin stars for Tickets and 41º — how important are reviews to you? And are you anticipating any critic reviews on the horizon from anyone worth noting?
One works to be happy and to make others happy. Prizes are nothing but a consequence of the first thing. It is true, however, that you are then put on the map for people who are potential future clients. All critics are important, as well as all the customers — at least this is what I have to think.
Would you ever open a restaurant in America, or anywhere else outside Spain? If not, do you have any other upcoming new plans you can share?
There does exist a possibility of opening a restaurant in New York City. I have some apprehension but also feel excitement about the idea. I’d love for Americans to enjoy a culinary endeavor of mine.
Are you actively working with the elBulli Foundation, and if so, what is your role?
I’m one of the owners, but my role is at Ferran’s disposal. For me it’s an honor to be part of the continuation of elBulli.
Is there a chef who challenges you?
The New York project I already mentioned is my big and last challenge, it’s also an incredible project, which at the moment I can’t say anything else about. Who inspires me to greater things? I have enough with myself, to be inspired to do greater things.
Where are the most interesting things in food happening today?
Uff, now I don’t travel much these days. I don’t think I’m the most informed person to answer that. I’ve always found an interesting place to see ideas: the streets.
Who would your choice for chef of the year be?
Luckily I’m friends with many of the best ones. It would be unkind to mention just one person.