O Come Let Us Adore Him

The Best of the Last and Final I-Ate-at–El Bulli Pieces

Adrià has (just about) left the building.
Adrià has (just about) left the building. Photo: Richard Vines/Bloomberg

This past weekend on the Costa Brava in Spain, as the food ‘nets have likely told you, marked the final public meals at El Bulli — for a lucky few friends and family, there are still one or two more good-bye celebrations going on. Yes, we get it. Ferran Adrià is a god, and this place was a temple. People like Tony Bourdain and Adrià biographer Colman Andrews have penned their eulogies, and pretty much every member of the British press has weighed in, either to bitch or gush about it. (You’ll recall, also, that New York’s own Adam Platt attended “the mother of all boondoggles” there last spring.) Below, we’ve rounded up and summarized all this grand finale coverage, and we offer our thoughts on what (if any) of it is worth a few minutes of your time.

Worth Looking At
• The AP pens a nice quick summary of the restaurant’s history and Adrià’s influence, making sure to point out that both Adrià and his biographer have admitted that the restaurant consistently lost money (that army of chefs doesn’t come cheap) despite charging about $400 a head, without drinks or tip. [AP]

• Colman Andrews, the above-mentioned biographer, pens a piece for the Daily Meal that details the many illustrious El Bulli kitchen alumni who came back to help cook for the closing, including Grant Achatz and Rene Redzepi. [Daily Meal]

• Anthony Bourdain chats with Eater National about his enduring love for Adrià, and why he feels like the restaurant was never “gimmicky.” Also he notes how exhausted Adrià must be, having been “so far out in front of people every year,” and recounts the story of David Kinch dining there one night and joking with Adrià that he’d probably see a lot of the same 30 to 40 courses if he came back the next night — only to have Adria whip out 40 entirely new courses for him the next night. [Eater]

• Richard Ehrlich, writing on the U.K. Guardian’s Word of Mouth blog, freely admits that he’s “just too sick of the adoration to be sorry that [El Bulli’s] closing” (we kind of agree). But he says part of his reaction is also based on the fact that he’s sad he’ll never get to eat there now (ditto). [Word of Mouth/Guardian UK]

• Simultaneously, the Guardian offers up a slideshow from the final service, along with a little history lesson about the German couple who founded the Bulli-bar and Hacienda El Bulli in the town of Roses half a century ago. [Observer/Guardian UK]

Don’t Bother
• Barry Yourgrau pens a little piece for HuffPo, in reaction to the Guardian bit, defending El Bulli as “the most far-out of research labs — where science, poetry, and humor deepened and expanded a love of food.” But he last ate there four years ago, in part because his girlfriend’s a food writer, and he’s got nothing new to say here. [HuffPo]

• The BBC has a very straightforward and unexciting little bit of video coverage about the closing meals. [BBC via HuffPo]

• Richard Vines pens a halfhearted eulogy for Bloomberg (see his earlier IAAEB piece here), noting that “El Bulli’s closure doesn’t matter because most people would never have got the chance to eat there.” [Bloomberg]

• The Telegraph can’t shut up about how amazingly awesome El Bulli was, and they made their own video. [Telegraph UK, Earlier, Earlier still]

Earlier: Mark Bittman Is the Latest Writer Unable to Come Up With a New Angle for an El Bulli Story
Who Will Fill Spain’s Great Void?
Bourdain and Andrés Enjoy 52 Courses at El Bulli, Cry a Little, and Tweet About It

El Bulli 1.0 to Go Out With 48-Course Bang

The Best of the Last and Final I-Ate-at–El Bulli Pieces