‘The other Adria’ or ‘Ferran Adria’s younger brother’ might’ve made great references in the past, but change is well under way for Michelin-starred chef Albert Adria. A sensation in Spain and owner of five restaurants, including the massively successful Tickets, Adria was recently crowned world’s best pastry chef. Also known as the brains behind elBulli – the world’s best restaurant for a record five times – the chef is now set to debut his innovative, seasonally charged cooking outside of Spain, with ‘50 Days by Albert Adria’ at Café Royal, London. Hardly 3 days away from the opening, the new Chef-in-residence at the affluent Regent Street café shares his plans for his Jap-Peruvian eatery, Pakta, describes scenes from inside Café Royal and divulges a little something on the new elBulli.
1) How would you describe the new “Nouvelle Cuisine”?
I’m not very good at describing cuisine styles, I believe more on good cooking or bad cooking, always based on the respect for the product, as per quality as per manipulation.
2) What according to you has been the greatest innovation in cooking in recent times?
Maybe the fact that the fun has entered the gastronomy world, understanding “fun” from the most serious perspective and always through the food and the dishes!
3) We’re curious to know about Pakta’s ‘Nikkei’ cuisine…
We are very interested in putting together the quality and the Japanese techniques with the colorfulness and the range of flavours on top of the Peruvian products: Pakta is a restaurant that needs time to evolve and reach all its splendour.
4) Tell us a little bit about your other restaurants.
Bodega 1900 is a traditional place to enjoy a “Vermut” (traditional Spanish aperitif before lunch time) and some traditional tapas. Niño Viejo is a traditional mexican taqueria with the typical mexican street food; Hoja Santa offers a revision of the current Mexican gastronomy, Tickets offers contemporary tapas and Enigma will open in May and it will be the restaurant to showcase all what we’ve learned in the last years.
5) What are your most favourite ingredients at the moment?
Always the seasonal product, there is no better gift for a chef than patiently waiting for the perfect product in each season and work them in their best moment.
6) You’re known for fusing cuisine with other creative arts, something you’ve achieved with Heart. How much of that are you bringing to Café Royal?
We are going to do something, but as always the main character will be the food and the history we want to explain through it. We want to create a quite serious offer, but my style, of course!
7) What’s the current status within Café Royal, in terms of prep?
Last details are being finalized: tableware, cocktail and food offer, the uniforms, the table presentation… in fact we are taking it as a completely new restaurant.
8) How many people are you expecting to feed per day? And what compositions can they expect?
56 people. However, we accept many more at the Oscar Wilde Bar, where guests will be able to enjoy some cocktails we have designed along with Marc Álvarez, the Group Head Bartender of elBarri, the group of Restaurants in Barcelona. As per the food at the 50 Days experience, we are mainly using English products and a personal style of cooking but adapted to the English taste.
9) After London, would you be taking this ‘50 Days’ concept elsewhere?
If the experience is positive we do not exclude doing it somewhere else or, why not, repeat it in London.
10) And lastly, what’s happening with elBulli?
elBulli closed in 2011 and re-opened as a Foundation, which is the project that Ferran is now undertaking. They’ve been working on elBulli Foundation for the last few years and it will finally be ready in 2017.
50 Days by Albert Adria runs from Feb. 12 through April 9.