From the opening of Heart, we enjoy of Ferran Adrià in Ibiza, considered by many, the best chef in the world. His last visit was in May 2017, when the Adrià brothers took part in a discussion on the future of catering on Ibiza, along with chefs Óscar Molina and José Miguel Bonet. Previously, pupils from the Isidor Macabich Secondary School were privileged to attend a masterclass by the most creative people on the planet.
When you return to Ibiza do you feel nostalgia for the island that you discovered when you first came to work as a dishwasher?
I am not a very nostalgic person. I always think that the future is full of stimulating expectations. Of course I very much remember that time, which was also great.
What do you think about the change that the island has recently undergone?
The fact is the whole country has changed tremendously since the beginning of the eighties; not only the country, the whole world has another face, different parameters. Ibiza is still Ibiza, it has not lost its DNA at all, but it is inscribed in another paradigm. And it’s okay to be like this.
What is left of the FAA who came to Ibiza looking to party?
I suppose there remains a great curiosity, always, for everything, in order to learn new things in my profession and in life.
Today Ibiza is associated with luxury tourism. What attracts you, who always claimed are not a person of great luxuries, to Ibiza in its current state?
To not pursue great luxuries is one thing, but another thing is each person being able to find something that interests him within the infinite range of possibilities offered by the island. And if that means great luxury, why not? Anyway, Ibiza is certainly associated with luxury tourism, but it is rich and varied enough for many people to find “their” own Ibiza, something for everyone.
What prompted you to embark on the Heart project?
I was especially encouraged by working with Guy Laliberté and with Cirque du Soleil in general. Also, thanks to my brother, Albert, who was involved in the whole process, as well as the dream of working on something that ties together several different disciplines.
You said that after the “failure” of the first year at Heart, you applied the Sapiens System that you developed at elBulliLab and everything changed. Could you explain this in a nutshell?
Sapians seeks order above all, and for everything to be connected. So our whole team ensured that all departments were conveniently connected and that maximum teamwork was produced. That is, we did what is normal within an organization, which can sometime cost to happen.
Does Heart serve as a testing ground at this delicate stage of research?
Heart serves mostly as a reflection of what a restaurant is or is not. I think what Albert has done in Enigma applies some way in this sense. These are two projects that depart from what we had previously conceptualized as a restaurant space.
At no point in my career have I been pursuing prizes or recognition
What is the gastronomy directed toward?
It is not easy to know, contemporary gastronomy is a very lively phenomenon, and it will certainly propose different new ways: new formats of restoration, new symbiosis between different cuisines, a very deep reflection on the gastronomical experience from the viewpoint of the diner, etc. We are fortunate to have an incredible generation of chefs and restaurateurs, the most prepared and brilliant in history, and certainly the next will be even more.
We have heard you say more than once, that you were not looking for an award but rather for happiness. Where do you find happiness today? What excites and drives you?
Indeed, at no point in my career have I been pursuing prizes or recognition, which is why I have said before on many occasions, precisely for this reason, that every prize that we have been awarded and every time we have been recognized for our work, we have taken as a real gift. And today I am still the same; I do not seek recognition, but rather to be able to work on what I like, what I dream.
For many people paternity is the path to happiness. Did you consciously renounce being a father to become the best chef in the world? Is family life incompatible with being one of the most “creative” people of the moment?
I do not think I can respond by generalizing here. I guess each person has their own priorities, their own way of working, and their ability or inability to combine those things. In my case, my dedication to work has been so absolute that there has not been neither an opportunity nor intention to combine it with a family life as it is colloquially understood. And I do not doubt that, as you say, paternity can be a path to happiness. I have found another one, in the midst of this great family made up of all the people who have passed through ElBulli.
From the kitchen of elBulli came hundreds of well-known chefs, some as big as Joan Roca, Redzepi, Bottura, Andoni … do you feel a bit like a “father” – professionally speaking – to all of them?
I have always said that elBulli is a melting pot, in both directions. I am sure that we have contributed a lot to the lives of people who have worked at elBulli in the past, but no doubt as much as each of those people has contributed to our own trajectory; hence, adding to the overall wealth of elBulli.
We are fortunate to have an incredible generation of chefs, the most prepared and brilliant in history.
Is there still no one who has surpassed the teacher?
I do not like speaking in these terms, especially for the indisputable reason, that you need to have enough perspective in time to see who is already known as a brilliant chef, but above all as an influential creator.
Which crucial ingredients can not be missing from the entire creative process?
Passion; this is very easy to answer. Passion and freedom, and the willingness to take the risks that they entail.
What do you like to do most when you’re not creating?
Without a doubt, enjoying all the time I can with my family.
Is there a specific traditional dish that you especially like or remember with special affection from your childhood?
All the dishes my mother cooked.
Intellectual elites are accused of not having their feet on the ground, of being far from reality. Is this your case? What do you worry about?
I don’t believe so. I’m interested in being aware of everything that happens, and of course I worry. I worry that we are capable of the most incredible technological wonders in all fields and that, instead, we have still not been able to solve world hunger. Even in the 21st century, it seems to me something inconceivable …