Humble, elegant, imaginative, quite simply an icon. I had the honor of meeting Ferran Adria years ago at his brother’s restaurant “Tickets” in Barcelona. Amazingly, as I headed over to meet the Adria brothers I boarded my plane and who is sitting two rows behind me in coach, none other than the great Ferran. Could have been quite simply a coincidence, but I like to think that we are connected in some way or another. If that is the case I hope that some of his creativity, his lessons, and his general disposition rub off on me and all of us, because if that is the case, the world would be a better place.
Below are some select quotes that I thought were fantastically insightful. There is a link on the bottom to check out a video of the full interview…..
Charlie: “You are one part chef, one part scientist, one part artist. How did you become that way?”
Ferran: “I am just a neighborhood kid, that didn’t go to university, gives classes at Harvard, and has the good luck to be with marvelous people, for example now. Because this is not logical. All I have done is learn observe, and ask the why of things. Why why why. to this point i always talk about you in Europe you made the best interviews that have been made of me because we ask why of things. sometimes we get answers sometimes not.”
Charlie: “Answers about what?”
Ferran: “First and foremost life. The hardest thing that there is is to get up in the morning look in the mirror and be happy. everybody wants this of course, everybody looks for this, I have acheived this. it has been 30 years that i get up in the morning very early, i work 16 hours doing what i love and i sleep and i am happy. why? because i have passion for what i am doing and I have challenges that i always believe i am not going to reach and i fight to achieve them. that is what life is, a struggle to reach a challenge.”
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Charlie: “You were the number one chef in the world. you had a restaurant people begged to come to. reservations took many many months to get. you gave that up, you closed the door because you said you wannted to create a legacy for the next generation.”
Ferran: “I closed El Bulli as a restaurant, to not close El Bulli. Separate from being a chef I have been a consultant to 25-30 companies related to food and I am now a world ambassador to Telefonica. A facet that few people know about me. And what I have done is to learn. And I have learned how difficult it is to have longevity, the creative longevity. You can only have longevity, if you anticipate what is going to happen. When we decided to transofrm El Bulli it was because we could look ahead and see that maybe in 5 years, we would decline, a creative decline. We had to create a chaos, a big chaos, so that would not happen.”
Some more amazing quotes from Ferran Adria:
“To do creativity at the level we do it, five days a week, eight hours a day, it doesn’t work. I dedicate more than double the time most people do. Thus, at the same level of talent, I have an advantage.”
“I think my virtue was I never thought, this is impossible.”
“El Bulli was created by 2,000 people that passed through it. And we didn’t know that something big was happening. It was like a game in a way. You didn’t really know how it was going to end up, and people who would leave, they would take a piece of it with them, but they would leave another piece behind.”
“This guy is at the top of the top. Usually when people are at the top of their game, it’s at this moment in life when you are willing to give everything you have. Warren Buffett, Bill Gates. It’s great. But one of the things that has made this man unique — and I think sometimes it’s a story the press has not been able to tell — is that 25 years ago when only maybe a few of us knew him, he was also a giver. And to give what you have is great. But to give everything when you have nothing, that’s even more amazing.” – Jose Andres
“From the beginning I asked myself the whys, and I continue to ask myself.”