Chef's Table (2015–…): Season 5, Episode 4 - Albert Adriá - full transcript

Trying to break out of living in the shadow of his past, Chef Albert explores how far he can move his creativity in creating the avant-garde.

What is creativity?

There is no end to creativity.

A technique or a concept

is followed by another one,

and another one and another one.

And there is no end.

We play to discover

the avant-garde.

There aren't limits.

There is total freedom.

Let's say that we skip the rules.

One plus one is three.

If you always think that
one plus one is two,

you will never do anything different.

Those who think that
one plus one is three

are the ones who dare.

They are the brave ones.

They are the avant-garde.

Albert Adrià has been
the great hidden one.

For his whole life, he has had to fight

against being "the brother of"

when he had enough talent
to be Albert Adrià.

We had this man who was
a great pastry chef,

this man who was creative
director of El Bulli,

and now is the full orchestra conductor,

responsible for everything.

- What's up?
- Hey, Chef.

- Good afternoon, boys. How are you?
- Hello.


Always work from the position
that you serve the client.

That's how it's done. You
should serve this way. Okay?

Shut up and work.

It's a short and simple motto.

I'm very introverted.

I'm not good with the press.
I'm even worse with TV.

I don't have the need to
have public recognition.

I've never sought fame.

I believe in the team.

The team is what I protect...

not the individual.

In fact,

I think that they are giving a
little too much voice to chefs.

Shut up and work.

It is a formula that has
always worked very well for me.

How beautiful!

Ladies and gentlemen...
Mesdames et Messieurs...

welcome to the marvelous Raluy Legacy!

When we were little,

my mother always took me to the
circus when it came to town.

Is it a crowd that likes magic?

- Yes!
- Perfect.

I love magic.

To be a magician, you have to be bold,

and I am bold.

Magic is an illusion.

And we want to convey
that illusion at Tickets.

And voilà!

See you later.


It's been a long time since
you came here last, right?


Today I'm going to teach you.
We'll take advantage of being here.

I'll show you where to buy things,

where we shop.

Is he your son?

- Him? Yes.
- He's too handsome to be yours.

I was born in a neighborhood
called L'Hospitalet.

It's a working-class neighborhood.

This is a flower that smells
like a mandarin orange.

- A mandarin?
- Yeah.



I'm dyslexic,

and that made me a little different
from most of the kids in my class.

It's really hard for me to write.

And sometimes I have a little bit
of trouble talking, as you see.

In school, it was suffocating
to sit there for seven hours.

Everything happened in slow motion,
and I couldn't remember any of it.

When I was 15, I told my father,
"Dad, I don't want to study anymore."

My father told me,

"If you don't want to
study, you'll have to work."

And, as it happens, my older brother,

Ferran, was appointed
head chef at El Bulli.

Ferran is almost eight years older.

During my youth, I
practically never saw him.

At El Bulli, they needed
inexpensive labor.

I had no idea if I would like it or not.

I had no idea what the
gastronomy world was.

I knew absolutely nothing about life.

But I always admired Ferran.

So I decided to go to El Bulli.

We used to have a garden here.

I barely remember it looking like this.

The kitchen window.

There's not much left of
what was originally El Bulli.

When I was 15 and Ferran
was 22, we reunited.

Ferran and I began our
adventures at El Bulli.

I just wanted to have some fun.

But I suppose that
Ferran, as my big brother,

had a plan about what
I had to do, right?

They have changed everything.


Back then, El Bulli was a
restaurant for insiders.

It was not a well-known place.

El Bulli had a lot of downtime.

On many days, nobody came to eat.

Ferran wouldn't stop going in
circles, looking for a solution.

He was always a great leader.

He filled the kitchen
with recipe books for me.

From then on, we started acting
like big brother and little brother.

It was the most beautiful
period of my life.

The staff had dinner at 6:30
p.m. At 6:00 p.m., at 6:00 p.m.

I can't remember when
they would have dinner.

And I would sit here. I remember.

It was here.




The relationship between the
two brothers is incredible.

They built a brotherhood which
transcended the biological fact.

They are brothers beyond blood.

We have the first dessert:

the rose.

Kiss the rose to eat just the sphere,

made from lychee,
raspberry, and rose water.


Here are the almond ice creams.

They have green almond chopped on
the exterior, a bit of olive oil,

and a little smoked flavor.

And the most important thing is one
of these two ice creams has a prize.

After one and a half years at El
Bulli, I became the pastry chef.

It was simple. Ferran was the
chef and I was the pastry chef.

We borrowed a few cakes, pies
and fruits from French cuisine.

People really came just to
eat from the dessert cart,

which was in style at that time.

Back then, I was more traditionalist.

Ferran was more prone to try everything.

I needed to wake up.

I had to evolve to keep up with
the speed of the savory kitchen.

Which meant taking out the dessert cart,

to commit to creativity
and to the avant-garde.

In pastry,

the image you can create is in
360 degrees, in three dimensions.

Whatever you want.

When creating pastries,
you are limitless.

It was exciting.

The world was opening before me.

You got it?

Don't hold back. Go for it.

It needs to be more cooked.
We need to slice it thinner.

Actually, listen to
me. It should be fried.

Fry, then chill it. Then
when it's cold, cut it.

- It will be crispy like this.
- Yes, yes, like we did earlier.

Albert's role in the workshop
was to direct and command.

He was the creative director.

The obligation was to make
everything possible...

to build a new language.

I visited a food factory.

In their laboratory, they
had a bottle of sauce

with little balls floating.

I quickly asked, "How is that done?"

And the chemist handed
me a bag of algae.

I arrived back in Barcelona at
6:30 p.m. and went to the workshop.

I was alone in the workshop.

I dissolved water with the alginate,

and calcium with water.

I took a spoon and tossed
the water in the bath.

And when I lifted it out, I
saw that it created a membrane.

When I punctured it,
there was liquid inside.

"Wow." I began to tremble and sweat.

I knew I had found something important.

The first spherification was the olive.

And I ask myself, "Where's the limit?"

That moment, I realized
that I don't see a ceiling.

And from then on, our
techniques really took off.

The airs.

The pancake.

The sugar lamp.

We didn't stop making
things that made no sense.

I felt free.

Everything was suddenly
a world of color.

Without the workshop,

El Bulli never would
have been what it became.

It is impossible.

Albert was the person responsible, more
than Ferran, for all that progress.

Alberto, this is worth not one,

but at least three meals at Enigma,

plus five or six at Tickets.

Just saying.

Where are the tongs?

These are XXL. Fuck.


I really socialize very little.

I am in a small circle of friends.

We meet once or twice a week.

- Eight. How many are we?
- There's eight of us.

I'm not comfortable
in the role of leader.

I hardly ever give speeches.

I hate social activities

and etiquette parties.

I like to work directly with my cooks.

That's where I'm very
comfortable, right?

Doing simple things, being normal.

2003, El Bulli has become an icon.

Ferran has become very, very famous.

Time magazine includes him

among the 100 most important
people in the world.

Ferran is a person with
worldwide recognition,

who has become famous.

His name, Ferran Adrià, is
just as powerful as El Bulli.

There was a time in which Ferran
gave three or four interviews a day.

Seven hundred or eight hundred a year.

It was crazy, the amount of
press that came to the workshop.

It was really crazy.

It was very difficult to
concentrate and create

with the press there all day.

And Ferran knew it.

It wore me down.

I needed quiet in order to create.

Careful with leaving that on too long.

It will keep cooking the meat.

Concentrate the sauce. Do
you get what I'm saying?

Concentrate the sauce inside
the perimeter of the peach.

Sauce faster.

You have to sauce all at once, one
time or one and a half maximum.

That's it.

Albert had a very difficult role:

the obligation of permanent creativity.

Every year, he was forced
to discover new things,

and he would do nothing
but work, work, work...

with no other options.

El Bulli had 1,800 dishes.

1,800 dishes.

I was focused on creativity,

with the mentality that my
brain was always switched on.

Whether buying clothes or at the movies,

or at 3:00 in the morning,

I was always plugged in.

So many models,

new techniques,

new concepts.


there is a certain feeling of torment.

And I said, "Man, this is unbearable.

This is mad pressure. This
is getting out of hand."

We had created a monster.

I felt the need to break
away from everything.

And I told Ferran,

"I can't stand it
anymore. I need my space."

And I decided to quit.


- Picon?
- We always serve Picon.


I needed something like that, dude.

Fucking amazing.

When he decided to
leave high-end cuisine,

he was very radical.

He wanted to control his own life.

He didn't want others to control it.

I wanted to do something
completely different.

My idea was to open a tapas bar.

I wanted to remove all
my arsenal of techniques.

And I wanted to focus
on the concept of fun.

El Bulli closed and I opened up Tickets,

my big solo project.

We had to start from scratch.

I started with Galician empanadas.
I started with fried fish.

I had the customer one
meter in front of me

so I could see quickly what worked...

and what didn't.

I immediately realized I wasn't
serving what the customers expected.

People looked at their food and said,
"I've been waiting three months for this?"

Many people thought we were
going to do a new El Bulli.

And I told them, "Hey,
no, this isn't El Bulli."

They must have been asking themselves

if I really was the
brother of Ferran Adrià.

The first days were heartbreaking.

I was scared.

Really afraid.

At that moment, I realized

I didn't have a story to tell.
We didn't have our voice.

My past wouldn’t leave me in peace.

El Bulli was like a ghost.

So many years here, so many memories.

The pastry kitchen.

Twenty-three years of my life here.

I wanted to end the
"brother of" clich?.

I had to re-evaluate.

I had to go back to the avant-garde.

When you are avant-garde,
you have two options:

you either get killed
or you find a new way.

We worked 15 hours a day to
create Tickets' own style.

I felt 100% creative.

We were evolving.

People tried their food and said, "Wow!"

I could feel the
vibration and that power.

For 25 years, I was
comfortable in the shadow.

But I have my own dignity.

I had to become the monster

because I'm El Bulli.

What does a person like Albert do

after he's reached the top of his craft?

What is his future?

I have no idea.

But I know, for Albert,
the sky is the limit.

Well, yes.

I saw a documentary

about the gastronomic revolution

which took place in Spain, and fuck...

I appeared 20 seconds.

So I said,

"Fuck, they're talking
about many things,

which I was, at the
minimum, the co-star."

As a matter of fact, two
days ago a story came out:

"Ferran Adrià and his
brother, blah, blah..."

In the most important newspaper
of the country, they said,

"Ferran Adrià and his brother."

Hey, I have a name, too.

I've earned the right
to be Albert Adrià.

It's something that, at
least, made me think.

Then... So...

I'm working on being remembered.