Ferran Adrià proposes a new model for Catalan tourism

Catalan chef Ferran Adrià is stepping out of the kitchen to lend a helping hand to tourism. He has proposed a new touristic project for the Costa Brava town of Roses, where his world-famous restaurant El Bulli is located. The project includes a natural and gastronomic route through the village.

CNA / Tània Tàpia / Marina López

August 25, 2010 11:30 PM

Roses (ACN).- Chef Ferran Adrià has initiated a proposal with the government of the Catalan town of Roses, where his legendry restaurant El Bulli resides, to create a new touristic project dedicated to the natural and inherited elements of gastronomy. The main objectives are to break away from tourist seasons and transform Catalonia into a worldwide referent. The idea, in spite of its embryonic state, has been approved by the Catalan Government’s president José Montilla, who visited El Bulli on Tuesday. “Sometimes they do not put in a lot of money because good ideas are simple ones”, said the chef.

Ferran Adrià’s creativity has no limits. While his speciality is cooking, the man considered the best chef in the world is putting himself at the service of the country with the proposal of his new touristic model. For Adrià, the crisis that the country is suffering is “structural”. Because of this, he believes it is necessary to create new types of tourism that attracts visitors the whole year-round and, above all, that people come in search of the best gastronomy and natural resources.

The project has grown with the support of the Roses’ Town Council. Adrià explained that after beginning his project in Roses, he met with the town’s mayor, Magda Casamitjana, in order to rethink the touristic potential of the Costa Brava town. Chef Adrià and Mayor Casamitjana now hope to create a “sensory itinerary” that combines the town’s coastal elements with the gastronomy offered by diverse restaurants in the area for potential tourists. The itinerary would include a route starting in the Cala Montjoi bay, passing by the Almadrava, the fish market and the lighthouse, and finally ending at the former military citadel. The two also wish to export the idea to other parts of the country.

Catalan president José Montilla claims that the proposal is “innovative just as everything else Ferran does is” and that innovative things are also “risky”. However, he added that he predicts a “very positive result because behind creativity there is talent”.

While the content of the idea has not been developed, Adrià explained that his ideas are coming out in an “altruistic way”. He is asking for suggestions from the public and businesses to develop the idea and also for economic resources from the government. As an example, the chef explained that Catalonia has some of the best natural parks but that, when people visit, there is nowhere to sit down and eat. Therefore, it is necessary to equip the parks with services that benefit everyone such as large picnic areas. One idea that, according to Adrià, is not incompatible with creating high level tourist infrastructures.

Catalan cuisine at Harvard

Adrià explained to Montilla that starting in September, Catalonia will become an important worldwide referent. In collaboration with the Alícia-Catalunya Foundation, the chef will give a 4-month course on gastronomy and science at Harvard University.

The chef also spoke with the president about future projects for El Bulli that will become more concrete starting next summer. Adrià explained that  though more details of the project will be known next summer, the project which is scheduled to begin in 2013 will convert the restaurant into a culinary research space “of which there are no worldwide referents”, said the chef. He assured that the project is “even more beautiful than that of the restaurant”.