The famous experimental chef Ferran Adria was forced to walk back his expansion plans for elBulli, now a foundation, by 300 percent due to pressure from locals and environmentalists. Adria is no stranger to controversy given his wildly inventive approaches to cuisine; critics have highlighted possible health-risks due to concerns about the additives involved. Although Adria closed down his restaurant located at Spain’s Cala Montjoi in 2011, the chef was planning to turn it into a larger ‘creativity center’.
The ‘molecular gastronomist’ has since changed his plans to a 20 percent expansion, reported the French publication The Independent. One of the main issues at elBulli was a lack of space, with the restaurant fully booked for most of its run but unable to cover its costs. Adria, inventor of more than a thousand completely unique dishes, had planned to open an exploratory and creative R&D center for gastronomy as a part of his ideal that, rather than eating food, one must ‘eat knowledge’. The public, however, could not understand why such consumption needed to happen on a public reserve.
The Cap de Creus Natural Park boasts of being a biological paradise, full of various species along with beautiful cliffs and coves. A petition on Change.org accumulated more than 100,000 signatures beseeching the government to step in the way of Adria’s development plans. People were also against the idea that the region was to be turned into a tourist-trap through Adria’s restaurant at the cost of the park’s protection.
The new elBulli space was scheduled to open in March but due to these developments, the future of the establishment remains uncertain. For now, though, it looks like the forests and coves will remain. To be clear though, opposition to Adria’s plans had nothing to do with his style of cuisine. It appears to have been based solely on concerns about the environmental impact