Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recommended Posts

@jeroen_kb I'm in the same boat as you. I have rejections for some requests and none more for others.

What I have noticed though is that rejections go out before acceptances, so Tthat might give us the best indication for where they are in the process. Has anyone succeeded in scoring a reservation for 2010 yet??

Link to post
Share on other sites

How comes a wildly-oversubscribed restaurant loses 500,000 euros a year ? It should be able to charge enough to make a healthy profit, no ? Why does it not open for more months each year so that more money comes in and takes in into profit ? What is it about the dynamics of running a restaurant am I missing here which explains the losses ?

Link to post
Share on other sites

My understanding is that the restaurant isn't meant to make a profit. The real money is in his speaking engagements and book deals. The restaurant is part PR machine and part gallery. "[T]he dynamics of running a restaurant" don't enter into the conversation for El Bulli. Surely he could charge more and stay open year round, but that assumes his goal is to maximize the profit from the restaurant. Staying open year round (or, at all, I guess, given his announcement that the restaurant is closing for good) wouldn't allow him the time/energy to innovate and teach in the way or to the level he wants.

Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

Link to post
Share on other sites

So now the latest is that it won't be closing for good:

According to an article in Spanish newspaper El Universo, Ferran Adria will not in fact be closing El Bulli, as The New York Times reported last week. Adria plans to stick with the 2012-2014 break he announced at last months Madrid Fusion; back to business after that. Optimists who hope to land a reservation someway, somehow in the next couple of years can breathe easy.


Link to post
Share on other sites

How comes a wildly-oversubscribed restaurant loses 500,000 euros a year ? It should be able to charge enough to make a healthy profit, no ? Why does it not open for more months each year so that more money comes in and takes in into profit ? What is it about the dynamics of running a restaurant am I missing here which explains the losses ?

Because they don't try to get every penny out of the customer.

They could charge far more but they choose not to.

The prices the set aren't so high that they exclude all but the richest.

And they choose to spend more time developing, experimenting and coming up with new things than turning out the food, so it's only open 6 months a year. It's a choice.

When i went a few years ago it was €150/£100 for the 27 odd courses which compares very favourably with London, they filled my cava about 6 times and charged me once, and they wine they recommended from that region was €30

It was brilliant

i've read this email back and realised what a pretentious gimp i sound for which i apologise.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I have no idea... I didn't send in multiple requests - only 1 email saying that we'd be in the area for a few days near the beginning of their season, but that if those days weren't available we would make a special trip at any time during the year... other than that, I did not mention any special occasions or anything... I sent in my request on the 2nd of January.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I am off to the Girona region for holidays this year at the beginning of August. As I don't have a reservation at all, I wondered what people's experiences are of getting last minute cancellation slots as I thought I might try within the 10 day confirmation period of when I will be there or alternatively ringing up on spec once I am in Spain.

Not the end of the world, as I am already booked in for El Celler de Can Roca..... ;-)

Oh, and I have a fussy 7 year old in tow - will they cope with that while serving us the degustacion menu?


"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I'm pleased to be the first to post on the 2010 season, though I'm going to concentrate on the photos rather than a lot of description. I was really lucky to get in this year. After receiving my annual rejection (with the exception of 2007, which was the greatest meal of my life) my best friend, who has pretty good contacts in the art and to a lesser degree food worlds in Spain, requested a table for the period after a meeting he had in Barcelona the opening week of the season. We were told we were at the top of the list for cancellations, and one came through a week or so later. The VIP nature of the reservation yielded a meal of 40 elements (as opposed to 30 last time) and some special face time with the chef after the meal. Instead of one cocktail-like starter, there were several at the start. Needless to say the meal rocked.

If I were to make a general observation about the differences between the two meals it would be: 1. Last time freeze drying was a dominant technique and this time freezing was. This may have been a result of us getting extra 'frozen' snacks towards the beginning of the meal. 2. The meal was a month later than my 2007 dinner. At that time we had several dishes (peas with artichokes puree and asparagus in different cooking times)that depended on super fresh young spring vegetables which I believe were only briefly on the menu. Those remain special taste memories.

One of the first memorable dishes was 'handkerchief'. handkerchief.jpg

It was sort of a reconfigured corn snack - salty, crunchy, and tasty. We ran into some other El Bulli eaters at Salvador Dali's house museum in Port Lligat the next day and they were still talking about this treat.

'strawberry' was one of the many frozen snacks. Great concentrated strawberry flavor.


One of the highlights was the gorgonzola ball. I read somewhere (probably the 'Food for Thought' book) that a chef who had worked at Moto in Chicago got them excited about creating ballon like dishes in 2008. In this case the sphere was deeply flavorful, reminding me more of a really complex yogurt than gorgonzola.

gorgonzola globe 1.jpg

gorgonzola globe 2.jpg

There is not much I can say about this shrimp dish that will express how flavorful it was. The photo is a bit shaky. My friend had eaten at Extaberri several times during a long stay in Bilbao, frequently extolling the perfect shrimp there. This was probably his favorite dish of the evening.


Freeze drying remained alive and well in the tomato busquit.

tomato biscuit.jpg

Rounding off the 'snack' portion of the meal, after which we went inside and no longer had as much natural light for the photos, was a trio of mimetics peanuts, mandarine seeds, and the central dish which I'm not sure if it was called 'american' (more likely) or 'beetroot and yoghurt meringue' ( which I think I did not photograph, as I'm not partial to beets). I can't sommon up a detailed recollection of it, but it was good. The 'peanuts' were intensely peanutty and soft and gooey if you did not eat them very rapidly - and greatly enjoyed. The mandarine was a perfectly contrasting acidic taste.

3 snacks.jpg

Soon after this we went inside for the central portion of the meal, and for red wine drinking. I'll get to that in another post.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Since the earlier report has garnered no feedback, I'll just quickly post more images from the meal for those who might be interested:

flower nectar.jpg

flower nectar

tea buscuit.jpg

tea buscuit

ham and ginger.jpg

joselito ham and ginger canape

tartar of marrow.jpg

tartar of marrow

montjoi lentils.jpg

Montjoi lentils

prawn two firings.jpg

prawn two firings

mimetic almond.jpg

mimetic almond

pinenut shabu shabu.jpg

pinenut shabu-shabu

soya milk with soya.jpg

soya milk with soya

asparagus with miso.jpg

asparagus with miso

miso soup.jpg

miso soup

This brings us into the full-on savory portion of the meal, which I'll post later.

Edited by victornet (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting these, keep them coming! I was lucky enough to go to El Bulli last year, and it's interesting to see that many of your dishes are an evolution of some that I had, e.g. I had a coconut & curry frozen sphere rather than gorgonzola. It'll be interesting to hear your thoughts on these dishes as well!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for posting these pictures! My wife and I were lucky enough to be there a few weeks ago, and your menu seemed very similar to ours - but we had a lot more "cocktails" in the beginning - about 5 or so, I think... but we didn't get some of the savory courses you had - we didn't get the soya dish, or the asparagus dish. On the previous post, the pink one in the middle was called "American" which I think really should of been "Americano" which is the name of a cocktail made with campari - which is why it was pink, and slightly bitter.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Anonymous Modernist 760
      Thanks for putting up this forum 🙂
      I would like to bake using a combination of sous vide and a conventional oven. Would it be possible to put the dough in a vacuum bag cook it sous vide at 37C for the dough to raise optimal and then put it in a conventional oven?
    • By Chef Hermes Blog
      Warm Onion Bavarois
      * 300g Sweet Onion purée
      * 250g Whole milk
      * 150g Whipping cream
      * 150g Chicken stock (or fresh vegetable nage, not stock cubes)
      * 3.5g Gellan gum
      * Seasoning
      Lightly grease with vegetable oil the moulds you intend to use (darioles, ramekins etc) and set to one side.
      In a pan (but not on the heat), whisk together all the ingredients.
      Place on a medium heat and whisk continuously, the mix will start to thicken slightly. Carry on whisking for a further 3-4 minutes when it has started to bubble. Then quickly pour into the greased moulds & chill.
      To reheat for serving, just place the ramekin in a pan of water and simmer gently for 8-10 mins.
    • By swpeterson
      I have been buying country style bone-in ribs instead of bone-in pork chops. I season them with a rub very similar to Emeril's Rustic Rub spice rub and use a heaping tablespoon a rendered Nueskie's Applewood smoked bacon fat in the Food Saver vacumn bag. We have been using 2 ribs in the bag but have made the decision to switch to one to split. The meat is so rich and flavorful that we can easily split one and enjoy the meal even more.
      For a sauce, I cobbled together a sauce made with the juice of half a valencia orange, the pulp from 1 passion fruit, 1 cup pitted cherries (I used rainiers and bings in this one), 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup white wine, juice from 1 lime, 2 tsp honey, garlic cloves crushed (I used roasted garlic that I keep in the fridge and 'crushed' them in my 'special' coffee grinder(2)) and 1 medium sized shallot. I used the same bacon fat to soften the shallots, then added the rest of the ingredients and let it reduce by about a third and then let it rest and reheated it when the pork ribs were done.
      I kept them in the sous vide at 141 from 10:00 AM until I got home from work at 7:00. It took another half hour +/- to change clothes, pour a glass of wine, reheat the sauce, make a salad, and heat up the garlic bread that I keep prepped in the freezer. After the bread was heated for about 8 minutes, I switched the oven to broil and took the bread out of the oven.
      I have started to experiment with using the broiler element to put color on the proteins that I have cooked in the sous vide. I have placed the oven rack on the third rack from the top, leave the door ajar while I bring the broiler element up to heat. I use my 10" stainless steel saute pan with a stainless steel rack in the pan for the protein. I open the sous vide package and pour the liquid that has accumulated in the bag into the bottom of the pan. I put the ribs, fattest side up on the rack and place the pan in the oven. I leave the door ajar and let them stay in there for 8 mnutes.
      That timing has worked extremely well for both the ribs and the chicken that I have done. I don't flip them yet and that hasn't been necessary for those 2 proteins. (I was much less successful with this formula for the flank steak which I think needs to be closer the heat source for less time).
      At any rate, the broiler is working well for color and the meat and sauce are great. The sauce also works very well with chicken. Haven't tried it yet with the salmon.
      Just wanted to share as I really love this sous vide thing and wanted to share.
      Sorry no photos yet. I haven't figured that part out yet but my husband promises to teach me.
    • By PedroG
      Utilization of meat leftovers from sous-vide cooking
      Sometimes when you buy a nice cut of meat, your eyes are bigger than your and your beloved's stomach. So what to do with the leftovers?
      In Tyrolia (Austria) they make a "Gröstl", in Solothurn (Switzerland) they make a "Gnusch", in the Seftigenamt (a region in the Swiss canton Berne) they make a "Gmüder", and we (Pedro and SWAMBO) make a varying concoct using ideas from all of the three. We call it "Gröstl", but it is not necessarily a typical Tyrolean Gröstl, and it is different each time, and we usually do not top it with a fried egg as they do in Austria.

      All your meat leftovers
      Onion (compulsory)
      Any hard vegetable (we prefer celery stalks, or zucchini)
      Any salad (iceberg lettuce or endive/chicory or any other salad leaves, may contain carrot julienne)
      Fried potatoes, or alternatively sweetcorn kernels
      Sherry or wine or bouillon or the gravy you preserved from your last LTLT.cooked meat for simmering (I usually prefer Sherry)
      Eventually some cream (or crème fraîche)
      Salt, pepper, parsley, caraway seeds (typical for Tyrolean Gröstl), paprika, condiment (in Switzerland we use "Aromat" by Knorr, which contains sodium chloride, sodium glutamate, lactose, starch, yeast extract, vegetable fats, onions, spices, E552)'
      vegetable oil (I prefer olive oil)

      Mise en place

      cut your meat in small cubes or slices
      cut the onion(s) not too fine (place the first cut below your tongue to avoid tearing during cutting)
      cut the vegetables about 3-4 mm thick
      cut the salads to pieces smaller than 4 cm, distribute on the cutting board and season deliberately
      cut the potatoes to 1 cm cubes
      place 3 heavy skillets with ample oil on the stove


      in skillet 1, stir-fry the onions, add the hard vegetables still stir-frying, add salad, add sufficient liquid (Sherry or wine or bouillon or gravy) for simmering under a cover until soft. If desired, reduce heat and add some cream at the end.
      in skillet 2, stir-fry the potatoes until soft (in case of sweetcorn kernels, add to skillet 1 after stir-frying and use skillet 2 for skillet 3)
      in skillet 3, as soon as the vegetables and the potatoes are soft, sear the meat in just smoking oil for 30-60 seconds, then add to skillet 1

      You may mix the potatoes with the vegetables and meat to make a rather typical Gröstl, or serve the fried potatoes separately; we prefer the latter, as the potatoes stay more crunchy.
      Do not forget to serve a glass of good dry red wine!
    • By PedroG
      Brisket „Stroganoff“ Sous Vide With Mixed Mushrooms

      Ingredients for 2 servings
      about 400g well marbled Brisket
      3 tablespoons rice bran oil or other high smoke point oil (grapeseed oil)
      3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
      3 tablespoons Cognac (brandy)
      2 small onions, finely diced
      ½ yellow or red bell peppers cut into strips
      90 g mixed mushrooms
      100 ml of gravy from last Brisket (or concentrated stock)
      1 teaspoon mustard, Dijon type
      1 teaspoon paprika mild (not spicy!)
      1 medium pickled cucumber cut into thin strips
      2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
      approx. 120g sour cream with herbs
      Sous Vide - cooking
      Marinate brisket with Mexican style (medium hot) marinade in the vacuum bag for at least 3 days at 1 ° C, cook sous vide 48 hours at 55.0 ° C.
      Preparing the sauce
      At a moderate heat sauté onions in olive oil, add peppers (preblanched in the microwave oven for 2-3 minutes) and mushroom mixture, stir-fry, remove from heat and add the gravy. Add pickled cucumber, pepper, mustard and cognac. Put on very low heat, add sour cream and keep warm, but do not boil as the cream will separate. Remove the brisket from the bag, cut into strips (about 8x10x35mm), sear very quickly in smoking-hot rice bran oil, add the meat and the parsley to the sauce.
      Serve on warmed plates. Typically served with spätzle (south German) or chnöpfli (Swiss).
      And don't forget a glass of good red wine!
      Enjoy your meal!

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...