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Ferran Adrià

Ferran Adria
Written by Aksel Ritenis
Ferran AdriaFerran Adrià Acosta is considered to be one the best chefs in the world. He is of a jovial disposition, as optimistic as can be. How could he be any different: in 1980 he joined the Hotel Playafels de Castelldefels as a dishwasher to earn a bit of money (his first wage was 34,456 pesetas) and now he has been awarded as many trophies as Michael Schumacher. However, Adria has high concentration of reality coursing through his veins. He is from the district of Santa Eulalia in L’Hospitalet and this is as much a part of his training as being a Rothschild, albeit in a very different sense. That is to say, the dishes prepared by Adria might fly, but they invariably obey the Laws of Physics.

The dose of realism is essential if one wants to achieve a perfect balance. If every single day 2 or 3 courtesans whisper in your ear that you are the best chef in the whole world, this would eventually go to your head. It would be enough to rule your life, and it would turn most of us into arrogant, dictatorial and intolerable individuals. However, we can still be thankful that even today, when all the plutocrats of the world phone up to book a table, Adrià still has his cheeky smile from the district and the intact knee which he used to dribble a ball through the streets of L’Hospitalet dreaming that one day he would be playing at Camp Nou. And the truth of the matter is that he has somehow succeeded in doing just this. His normality is a great source of consolation in a world of exceptions.

He managed to conquer the planet between 1996 and 2006, armed with foams, airs and all sorts of soft and sensual weapons. Adrià is like Alexander the Great, but a positive version. The next 10 years promise to be the most exciting yet. They will be the years of reinvention. The years of awareness. Although there has already been a change in perception: so far he has been regarded as a chef, but from now on he will be received as an artist. However, it is true to say not even the journalists who wrote about him really believe it; it was just a way of singling him out. But, it is he himself who should consider whether cuisine is art, craftsmanship or artefact!

The second description is also of capital importance. He was praised by saying that he was the best chef in the world. Now the strategy is somewhat different: he is now heralded as being the most influential chef in the world. The former is immeasurable, whereas the latter can be easily one Finnish restaurant, one Japanese restaurant, a North American one, a French one and a German one, and examine the influences that are to be found there. At present, few Spanish people could say the same, i.e. that their work is setting the pace for all others to follow. We will never stop celebrating with champagne, which is what he likes to celebrate with, the privilege of being his contemporaries and being able to say: “We experienced it, we knew it”. What more is there to be said!

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Aksel Ritenis

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