Now Ferran Adria, the chef-owner, has decided to close the restaurant permanently, after the 2011 season.
The restaurant and Barcelona workshop combined lose a half a million Euros per year. In fairness, that’s really by choice. The restaurant is said to get 10,000 requests per table. It’s certainly been the most difficult reservation to get in the world. They could easily raise price (my wife and I ate there for about 500 euros all-in, which isn’t unreasonable for a Michelin 3-star and certainly not for arguably the best restaurant in the world). But Adria has long said that he “doesn’t cook for millionaires.”
The restaurant is an expensive proposition, from the ingredients to the staff (there are as many people cooking as there are diners on a given night). But Adria doesn’t raise price because he values that his restaurant is accessible (a relative term no doubt). And with his speaking, consulting, book royalties, and other sources of income he’s been able to afford this indulgence.
But no more, he’ll found an El Bulli cooking academy in place of the restaurant.
Adrià said the academy would be “a place for free thinking and kicking around ideas’’ about food. The El Bulli academy would likely work with many cooking schools around the world and would seek students — perhaps 25 in the first year — who had the highest levels of professional training.