272-281 FERRAN ADRIÀ / EL BULLI FOUNDATION
[...It is very difficult not to copy, but it is much more difficult to notice that you are copying. Therefore, we started to, very consciously, conduct an audited creative model. We noticed how important the analysis of your work is, the order of it; only if you know what you’ve done can you move forward…
In 2009, We decided to take two to three gap years to investigate. I had to decide what to do during these years. I thought of quitting cuisine and devoting my life to travelling around the world doing conferences. My wife told me that if I did this it was because I was a coward and that it is not fair that I quit when I was merely halfway through my career.Therefore, I thought of doing a creative centre, since we did want the beautiful part to continue and the El Bulli spirit to remain here… so there was nothing better than doing a foundation to divulge our knowledge. For me it’s not work, it’s a passion. This is a project to have some fun. I am very demanding with myself and also with the people we work with. We are demanding because we like to be so, and in the end I think it’s good to be like this. It’s the only way to be if you are to create something new.
The expression ‘sixth sense’ is usually understood as referring to a special intuition, the ability to take in or appreciate nuances spontaneously. We give it a broader and somewhat different meaning, referring to the ability to analyse cuisine rationally.
It might be said that a diner visiting a restaurant can perceive three fundamental aspects of pleasure. Firstly, physical pleasure. Secondly, there are the emotions, which can come from their expectations as well as the important elements of a restaurant, such as the goodwill lavished upon the diner, the enjoyable aspects of the act of eating, and so on. Thirdly, pleasure can also be intellectual, and this is what the sixth sense refers to. It’s a characteristic whereby emotions are introduced into our cuisine through means such as irony, provocation, humour, memory, or a sense of mischief, with the aim of incorporating a new component into gastronomy— ‘reason’. In other words, the ability to enjoy cooking not only with one’s palate but also to employ the diners’ intellectual faculties and enable them to see that what they have in front of them has an added value.
the sixth sense is everything in a dish that makes the diner think and experience the pleasure of coming across something that stimulates their capacity for judgement or reason. This characteristic, which in our case comes from a philosophy with regard to food, has gradually become a creative method aimed at offering a further type of pleasure to anyone dining at El Bulli.
Many of El Bulli’s offerings have been considered at some time or another as being provocative, almost certainly in the pejorative sense, with people judging it to be a gratuitous attitude. i mentioned ‘a sense of Mischief’, which is a game. if the diner is prepared to play without preconceived notions, it can be a source of emotion. Provocation, bending the rules, offering something other than what was expected... in short, surprise— One of the main reasons customers come to El Bulli is that they want to be surprised. This attitude calls for a great deal of creative effort since one cannot dash expectations.
a large part of the El Bulli cuisine involves decontextualisation— taking products, preparations, and dishes out of their normal framework; a vocabulary, that is completely new or very far from usual. Creatively, there are many opportunities— taking products that are never usually found in gourmet restaurants out of their context, or serving preparations that are typical of other cultures, or else preparing savoury dishes based on sweet concepts, using the vocabulary of the savoury world in the sweet world, and vice versa.
This reflection on the sixth sense has been one of the trickiest aspects of our evolutionary analysis, since traditionally, in cooking, one only talks about products, techniques, or styles. It is not often that we include the pleasure provided by the meal beyond mere flavours and taste.
The cuisine we are working on, it is a language. With our future classification, and through technology, we will be able to communicate and codify this language. And it will be the very first time in history. We used to spend six months of each year experimenting, and we’d been doing this for over 12 years. 80 percent of the time was not dedicated to cooking but to theoretical and research work. Now I feel that, before we start cooking again, we need to make a point, to question the things we have accomplished in order to develop what is to come for us. And so the work of the past and the work of the future are interlinked.
Today, our philosophy is to define the order before creating— to classify the products, it’s an enormous archival work, over 8000 pages. All of this has been gathering inside my head for nearly 10 years. now we will need at least three years to put all the information together, the creative processes as well as the concepts we have established— 12 people giving their opinions and sharing the ideas in order for us to find this future method of cuisine. It’s work that requires considering the context of things that exist in the world and taking a distance from the things we have created. It’s a necessary distance for us to analyse what has been established, so we do not turn in a circle but can actually continue to innovate, instead of becoming a copy of ourselves...]
/ EL BULLI COLLECTION UTENSILS PHOTOGRAPHED BY MONIKA BIELSKYTE, EXCERPT FROM A TEXT BASED ON A CONVERSATION BETWEEN FERRAN ADRIÀ & MONIKA BIELSKYTE. ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLY IN THE PRINTED EDITION OF SOME/THINGS MAGAZINE CHAPTER006 / THE DARK LABYRINTH