Despite the posters of the adorable French bulldog wearing an edible necklace that were plastered on London underground platforms all summer, I somehow managed to leave it to the closing weekend to visit the corresponding exhibition. My goodness am I glad I made it!
El Bulli: Ferran Adrià and the Art of Food was a retrospective on the beach bar on the Costa Bravo that went on to become the world’s best restaurant, and the chef that lead the way. The exhibition occupied the Embankment Galleries West of the beautiful Somerset House and the entrance was lined with magazine covers celebrating Ferran’s success.
elBulli was named after the founders’ French bulldogs and a giant tribute welcomed visitors to the exhibition. On closer inspection, it became clear that he was in fact made of meringue and his enviable collar was made entirely of sugar-crafted flowers. The adorned pup guarded the signed jacket worn by the Head Chef for the final service before the Michelin 3-star restaurant closed its kitchen doors on 30 July 2011.
I didn’t know much about elBulli or the truly innovative team behind its worldwide fame, but I left the exhibition in awe of the way in which the lines between food, science and art had been truly blurred. The philosophy “stop copying, start creating” is an inspiring one.