- The day I met God
It’s all right, I can die now. I’ve seen God…
‘Ferran Adria and the art of food’ exhibition booked months ago finally arrived, it was yesterday.
Somerset House, little exhibition talking about Ferran Adria’s life and of course his nearly 30 years of work at El Bulli. That’s what I thought…
So, Somerset House, little exhibition, I was right and a bit disappointed thinking that we finished after half an hour as I didn’t see that the first floor was dedicated to him as well.
Busy reading the story of El Bulli and how it all started… My friend called me, I turned my head and behind my friend, Ferran himself was smiling at us. It was like you are in a long dark tunnel and then you see the light, God smiling at you… I still can’t believe what I saw, was it a mirage? Hallucination maybe?
I am not a groupie kind and don’t get excited at all when I see someone famous, I don’t ask for picture or autograph…. But people, please, we are talking about God !
Eyes and mouth wide open, goose bumps, he blessed us with his smile, his broken French, his strong Spanish accent and his contagious energy.
How can he be so humble ? How come is he here ? Talking to people who were just expecting to go to a food exhibition, not to see him in person.
He asked if we work in hospitality, explained us what’s going on on the first floor, advising that we should come back to spend a few hours to take the time to understand, look… Again that little flame in his eyes when he talks about his work.
We spend a good three hours in there looking at his creations, recipes, process and on little screens how he brings his creativity to life.
My friend was telling me that at this stage it’s neurosis, alienation… Of course it is, how can you reach that level without being immersed so deeply in your art that other things are secondary?
In Harvard they study the El Bulli’s case, “creativity comes first; then comes the customer,” Ferran Adria said. So what can students learn about marketing from a business owner who says he doesn’t care whether or not customers like his product?
Harvard professor’s interest in what motivates seemingly irrational consumer behavior has found a perfect subject in Adrià. To eat at El Bulli, customers had to book at least one year in advance. If they were lucky enough to be one of the 8,000 people who get a booking that year, they were then given a date and time to show up. Reaching El Bulli’s coastal perch involved traveling to Barcelona, then driving two hours of narrow mountain roads and then enjoy a five hours meal of whimsical dishes prepared by Adrià and his army of cooks.
The once-in-life-time meal represents hours of laborious research, testing, and preparation and to create those experiences, you can’t listen to the customer, he said.
“Adrià’s idea is that if you listen to customers, what they tell they want will be based on something they already know.”
Opened only 6 months a year, 30 to 40 cooks for 50 customers a day, Adria said that he should have charged 600 euros for a meal, “but I do not cook for millionaires. I cook for sensitive people.”
If he doesn’t listen to customers but yet his customers are some of the most satisfied in the world it’s definitely a marketing subject to study. He is taken as an example, as the best chef in the world and God for some… If you remember my post from the 3rd of May 2012 called ‘I missed God’ http://www.marlenefoodstyling.com/2012/05/i-missed-god/
One year later, I can tell that I’ve seen him, so close, he even hugged me.!
El Bulli closed in 2011, God is now flying to other celestial spheres with his El Bulli foundation and hundreds of other projects, still immersed in his own world, a world in which normal people don’t have any access, genius only have the key.
‘Ferran Adria and the art of Food’
5th of July to 29th of September