As if fine dining world domination wasn’t enough, master chef Ferran Adrià is now on a quest to take over the growing world of online food hubs with his latest Wikipedia-style culinary encyclopaedia, BulliPedia. Simone Miché explores...

Around 20 years ago, at the age of just 27, Ferran Adria decided to explore gastronomy in ways that no other chef before him had, in a renovated beach shack off the north-east coast of Spain. He experimented with ingredients, flavours and techniques, deconstructed dishes and started the first revolution in cooking since the nouvelle cuisine insurrection in the 1970s and 80s, otherwise known as Molecular Gastronomy. His avant garde culinary style catapulted him to gastronomic stardom and his tiny Barcelona-based restaurant, elBulli, which seated only 50 people, became a world-renowned fine dining hotspot overnight, nominated as The World’s Best Restaurant a record five times in a row from 2002 to 2009.

In its heyday, the now defunct elBulli received over 2 million reservation requests per year. Equally, it became one of the most sought after restaurants in the world by aspiring chefs. Each year, thousands of young cooks from around the world applied for the 35 slots, including Redzepi, Massimo Bottura, Jason Atherton and Andoni Luis Aduriz. With this in mind, I think it’s fair to say that Ferran Adria triumphantly succeeded at gastronomic world domination. And now, word on the street is he’s looking to take over the online world of gastronomy, too, with his latest project BulliPedia. 

BulliPedia is just one subsidiary project that’s transpired from world-famous restaurant elBulli since its closure in July 2011. Elbulli itself is being transformed into a research centre called elBulli Foundation. Like anything Ferran lays his hands on these days, elBulli Foundation and BulliPedia’s stories are something of an enigma. A few days after the restaurant closed, a message was posted on its website introducing the elBulli Foundation concept, stating: "On July 30th 2011 elBulli will have completed its journey as a restaurant. We will transform into a creativity centre, opening in 2014. Its main objective is to be a think-tank for creative cuisine and gastronomy and will be managed by a private foundation."

Equally shrouded in mystery, the first thing inquisitive elBulli aficionados come across upon visiting the BulliPedia website is: “Bullnoun. Catalonian word which means agitation of a liquid that boils.” Followed by, “ Something is boiling on the web...”

To those who have probed further into the subject, Ferran has revealed that BulliPedia will be a Wikipedia style website for food, an online resource which will give epicureans all over the world free access to modern culinary techniques and cooking styles which have emerged in the last six or so decades.

Ferran has pulled in some of the brightest minds at Harvard and Barcelona Business School's brightes and a number of top chefs and figures from the culinary world to help with the enormous project.

One of the chefs in question is Mateu Casañas – one of the three founding chefs behind the recently opened Compatir restaurant in Cadaqués, who has worked at elBulli alongside Ferran and is now helping him to curate the project. He suggests that the project is limitless, with Ferran constantly coming up with new ideas for how to make the culinary encyclopedia even bigger, better and more comprehensive. No wonder BulliPedia, which was originally slated to be ready for its big debut in 2014 has had its release date set back several time. It’s now rumoured that it could take around 4-5 years for BulliPedia to celebrate its launch date, ready for anticipated viewer’s eyes only in the year 2018.

They say that the devil makes work for idle thumbs which couldn’t be more apt for Ferran whose brilliant gastronomic mind must have experienced a period of unwelcomed quietude after elBulli’s closure, leaving him brimming with ideas and no output to make them a reality. Ferran’s solution to that – BulliPedia – could be one of the world’s latest, greatest culinary concepts and one we’re certainly very eager to try out or, rather, even know more about. Roll on 2018...

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