It isn’t easy being a real Willy Wonka. With his innovative insight and provocative productions, Ferran Adrià enjoys conducting new culinary experiments as much as our beloved Wonka adores the creative creations of his chocolate factory. The main difference, however, is that Adrià has yet to open his factory, but that will not remain a hindrance for long.

Adrià is a prominent figure in the culinary world, but his name also spreads beyond the social circles of his profession. He is known by all the foodies out there—ask any of the ones in your life and you’ll see sparks ignite their eyes as you mention his name. Adrià is well-known for his input in molecular gastronomy and is usually associated with this contemporary style of cooking. One should duly note, nonetheless, that Adrià hates this term, as his biographer Colman Andrews points out in Ferran Adrià: The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat. Yet, as long as he dabbles in science while creating dishes, it seems his name will always be associated with this term.

The Catalan chef recently closed the Michelin 3-star restaurant elBulli. The restaurant opened for dinner only six months a year and took away its menus in order to feel free to serve what the chefs felt like serving at the time. Adrià dedicated the other six months to research and the production of new dishes, and he views the financial loss that caused the restaurant to close as a well-earned gain in research time. He considers closing the restaurant an opportunity to give the location and his vision a bigger transformation, which is when the concept elBulli Foundation was finally created.

As with the experiments his staff successfully achieved, like how they managed to make spaghetti out of pure cheese and caviar out of melons, the elBulli Foundation will further enable chefs to conjure other dishes that their imaginations and scientific skills will enable them to produce. The workshop will adhere to his visionary concept of separating creativity from production, which is a methodology that enabled him and his staff to create a massive number of new recipes per year. They will be able to conceptualize in their workshop, a place he lovingly refers to as a ‘think tank,’ yet they will also have a restaurant where they will be able to create and recreate the dishes that were inspired by their avant-garde concepts.

In order to avoid the financial problems he faced in the past, Adrià decided to launch an MBA competition at some of the world’s most competitive business schools: Columbia, ESADE, Haas, Harvard, and London Business School. As for the location of the foundation, it is in the natural preserve of Cala Montjoi, which is an area that is difficult to work with due to the restrictions of the environment. Yet, the plans made by the architect Enric Ruiz-Geli are environmentally sound designs that will integrate the seascape and landscape in a harmonious coexistence with Adrià’s promising workshop. Additionally, the buildings are designed so that they will create all the energy they will need from the natural environment around them. In further effort to arrange an eco-friendly environment, there is talk of avoiding air conditioning, if possible.

The difference between Wonka’s factory and Adrià’s workshop is that you will not need a golden ticket in order to learn the inner secrets of the foundation. In this project, sustainable technology plays an important role in achieving this. It is through the internet that Adrià’s staff will be able to share their new and archived cutting-edge concepts with everyone else in the world. This free form of information sharing, Adrià argues, is the main reason behind making the elBulli Foundation. Why is it so critical to enable others to follow their experiments and findings? Well, according to Adrià, chefs need people to help them create new and stimulating dishes. By having all of their information online, chefs will feel pressured to work better and will also have the advantage of receiving constructive criticism from people who read the provided information. Moreover, the foundation’s aim of freeing one’s creativity can be achieved by having people benefit from their findings and attempting their own twists to the foundation’s experiments. Eventually, it is only through the cooperation of a mass number of people, not only experienced chefs, that our generation will be able to create dishes that could go down in culinary history.

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