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Brief Published: 9 May 2013

Ferran Adria at Somerset House


Spanish Michelin-starred chef Ferran Adria’s restaurant elBulli in Catalonia, Spain might have closed its doors in 2011, but the influence of the seminal chef and his accomplished team lives on with a blockbuster exhibition this summer at London’s Somerset House.

elBulli: Ferran Adria and The Art of Food has already had a successful run in Barcelona (it amassed an impressive 650,000 visitors in 11 months), but its move to London will push Adria’s name, as well as that of his elBulli foundation, even further as cultural capital.

The comprehensive exhibition will highlight the gastronomical achievements of Adria and his time at elBulli, as well as the continuing work of his foundation, which aims to open up the elBulli name to more creative and influential pastures (in 2014, the former restaurant will reopen as a “creativity centre”).

Multimedia is used to show off Adria’s sought-after cuisine, from interactive displays detailing the ingredients that make up a classic elBulli dish, to accompanying plasticine models used to gauge size, arrangement and colour combinations. Research notes and sketches also explore the creative process that goes into creating some of the best dishes in the world. 

Fine dining is the new art currency, and chefs are the new celebrity. As the boundaries between creative genres continue to blur, gastronomic creations will increase in cultural value. As Adria noted, his work has become much more than food: “It is difficult to explain was elBulli does, what vanguard cooking is. But I want to open up my archive to everyone, and inspire a new generation of talented chefs. There is something special happening here.”

For more on fine dining and gastronomy as cultural capital, see  our Culinary Institutes: Spain report and keep an eye out for our Redefine Industry Trend.