El Bulli Reopens? A False Alarm

Sorry, but Ferran Adrià will not give diners one more chance to eat at his famous restaurant after all
Ferran with Journalists
Colman Andrews

Ferran with Journalists

As anyone who cares about such things has heard, "the world's greatest restaurant", Ferran Adrià's impossible-to-get-into El Bulli in Cala Montjoi, on Spain's Costa Brava, closed for good on July 30th, with plans to reopen in 2014 as a foundation for gastronomic study. Although food will be served in some form at the foundation, Adrià has said definitively "I will never run an haute-cuisine restaurant again."

But wait. "Never?" Reports recently surfaced, and were passed along here, that the restaurant might in fact reopen, to serve dinner as usual, for a two-month period sometime in late 2012 or early 2013, in order to lend an air of versimilitude to an El Bulli-based film being prepared by American producer Jeff Kleeman. In an interview with the Catalan News Agency, Adrià said that he would revive the now-shuttered gastronomic shrine for one month to give the filmmakers an opportunity to witness how the place works and for another month for actual filming. "It will be the real El Bulli," Adrià told the agency. "It will be fun."

I was skeptical, pointing out (a.) that Adrià has announced that groundbreaking for the foundation — whose elaboration will include new buildings, a repurposing of the existing restaurant, and, according to some reports, a swimming pool where the parking lot now is — will take place this coming January, so it's not clear whether the extant restaurant will even still be there in present form by late 2012; and (b.) that Adrià has about 20 new ideas a day and will doubtless change his mind about every aspect of the foundation, and quite possibly the film, many times between now and the purported reopening.  

I might have added that Adrià has often been misquoted or his remarks have been misinterpreted by the press on many occasions. Whether or not that's the case here, I don't know, but I tracked him down on vacation to ask about the purported reopening. His reply? "It is entirely false that the restaurant will open to the public for two months. It is not yet even confirmed that the movie will be filmed at El Bulli, but in the case that it is, the restaurant would open only with extras at the tables."