Set in the final year of the iconic restaurant located 100 miles north of Barcelona, the film will mix fact with fiction and offer an inside-the-kitchen look at the intense passion, creativity and tedious work unfolding nightly. Adrià abruptly closed this mecca in 2011 at the height of its popularity, triggering global mourning in the gastronomic community. At that time, elBulli was fielding 2 million reservation requests a year, but could only serve about 8,000 guests.
In 2014, elBulli will re-open as the elBullifoundation, a center dedicated to culinary creativity and innovation. Located on the site of the restaurant, the foundation will be housed in a new campus that is both architecturally striking, and energy sustainable. While it will preserve elBulli’s historic archive, the foundation will also focus on experimentation, treating cooking as a language through which new ideas can be expressed. One of its first projects is Bullipedia, an encyclopedia of cuisine in which Adrià and his collaborators will trace the DNA of cooking and organize collective knowledge about products, techniques, preparations, and concepts.
In her book The Sorcerer’s Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià’s elBulli, Abend spent the 2009 six-month season at elBulli showcasing the interpersonal drama behind elBulli’s notoriously rigorous kitchen training program. Each year, 32 accomplished young chefs – culled from 3,000 hopefuls from around the world – would pay their own way to get to elBulli’s remote Costa Brava location just to work as stagiaire (translation: “kitchen apprentices”). In Adrià’s kitchen, they were pushed to their competitive limits in a 14-hour-a-day Darwinian process designed to sift out the chefs capable of working in a restaurant voted the world’s best five times, spearheaded by a celebrity chef who has three Michelin stars and who has appeared in almost every major publication on the planet.