The last three sous-chefs from Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli to open their own restaurant in Cadaqués

Three deputy chefs of what was recognised for consecutive years as the best restaurant in the world, El Bulli, run by the Catalan chef Ferran Adrià, are now set to open their own restaurant on the Costa Brava. It will be called ‘Compartir’, the Catalan verb for ‘to share’. They aim to offer “simple cuisine”, with dishes to share. El Bulli closed its doors last summer, however it will transform itself into elBulli Foundation, a centre to experiment with food, design and senses. It is expected to open in 2014. The three sous-chefs will also collaborate with Adrià’s new project.

CNA / T. Tàpia

April 19, 2012 12:36 AM

Roses (ACN).- The world famous restaurant El Bulli, considered for many years as ‘the best restaurant in the world’, has its own spin-off. Three of its most important members will open their own restaurant in the Catalan coastal town of Cadaqués on the Costa Brava at the end of April. Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch were the last sous-chefs in El Bulli, Ferran Adrià’s lieutenants in the three-Michelin-star restaurant that closed its doors last summer. The three sous-chefs have decided to open their own restaurant, although they are still linked with El Bulli, which will re-open again in 2014 transformed into elBulli Foundation, a space for creation and innovation, linking research in cuisine and visual arts, but not functioning as a restaurant. The new Cadaqués restaurant will open its doors at the end of April. It will be called ‘Compartir’, the Catalan verb for ‘to share’. They will offer “simple cuisine” with around 35 or 40 different dishes on their menu. All dishes have been created for sharing.

The Catalan restaurant El Bulli revolutionised world cuisine by making gastronomy a challenge for all senses and creating what was later called ‘molecular cuisine’. Ferran Adrià led this revolution, becoming ‘the chef of the decade’ according to ‘Restaurant Magazine’ in 2011. Furthermore, the 3 Michelin star restaurant was recognised on four consecutive years as ‘the best restaurant in the world’. Now, the three El Bulli sous-chefs, Adrià’s lieutenants, want to cook “without the pressure” of being in such a recognised restaurant. They want to offer “honest food”, using the techniques and the working spirit they learned at El Bulli, located in the coastal town of Roses, next to the Cap de Creus.

Oriol Castro arrived at Adrià’s restaurant in 1996. The next year, Mateu Casañas arrived and, in 1999, it was Eduard Xatruch’s turn. With the years, the three become El Bulli’s sous-chefs, the last three ones the restaurant had. In fact, their link with Roses’ restaurant will continue, as they will collaborate in elBulli Foundation, which will open its doors in 2014. However, meanwhile, they have decided to start their own culinary adventure in Cadaqués, a coastal village near Roses, at the end of the Cap de Creus, in the Costa Brava.

The restaurant will be located in Cadaqués’ historical centre, a beautiful white-painted-house old fishing village. “We like the place, it is an old village house that we have renovated”, they explained at a culinary event in Roses on Monday. “We have been working at El Bulli for many years, and deep inside we have coined how things have to be done”, said Casañas. The type of cuisine in ‘Compartir’ will be “simpler [than El Bulli’s], market cuisine in which we will try to work how best to develop the product”, he explained. Some of the dishes on the menu will be traditional gazpacho (fresh tomato and cucumber soup), escalivada (a Catalan traditional dish with roasted peppers and aubergine), paellas, or anchovies, but all presented and finished with their own particular style.

Another of the distinctive elements of the restaurant, which will have a dining room for 40 people and an outdoor terrace for a similar amount of people, will be the way the food will be served. Casañas explained that everything will be placed in the centre of the table, and the guests are expected to eat from there, following a philosophy of sharing. However, the individual portions will be clearly differentiated and even if someone asks for eating from his or her own dish, the restaurant will not have any problem at fulfilling the client’s wish.

Casañas insisted that they have thought of a restaurant for everybody. “People should not think they are going to eat in El Bulli”, he stated. “From a conceptual point of view, El Bulli represents a heavy responsibility for all the required creativity”, he added. “Now, we want to cook well, but not thinking all the time about creativity”, he explained, “cooking without pressure”. “We want to cook and enjoy ourselves,” he concluded. People will be able to eat “quickly” or “with friends for some €30” per person, although some few dishes will be quite elaborate and people could pay up to €60.

They will combine their work in ‘Compartir’ with that in elBulli Foundation. They will have a team of seven other people working in the kitchen, three of which also passed through Ferran Adrià’s restaurant. They have also counted with El Bulli’s sommelier, Ferran Centelles, to develop their wine menu, with some 40 different wines.