El Bulli: Contemporary Intersections Between Food, Science, Art and Late Capitalism

Maria Domene-Danés
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Ferran Adrià, head of the Catalan restaurant and now foundation elBulli, participated in the exhibition of contemporary art Documenta 12 in 2007. My paper analyzes this event as the intersection of three elements: Adrià’s work and performance as chef, the incorporation of science and technology into cuisine in what is known as Adrià’s ‘techno-cuisine’, and the crossing between contemporary art and food. To do so, I describe some of Adrià’s dishes and examine the ways in which they relate to the artistic field. Rather than addressing the polemic question of whether a chef can ever be considered an artist or not, my essay reflects on the significance of Adrià’s approximation to the contemporary art world in relation to the blurring of artistic frontiers and other cultural and social fields. I approach Adrià’s case as an example of what Fredric Jameson calls the ‘dedifferentiation’ of spaces.