Adria is the three-Michelin-starred chef who helmed the kitchen of elBulli, the legendary restaurant in northern Spain famed for its pioneering avant-garde techniques, from 1984 until it closed in 2011. During that time, he and his chefs perfected a system for feeding the 75 staff members a different three-course meal every day, based on their philosophy that “if we eat well, we cook well.” They collected the recipes for the most popular dishes and eventually organized them in a cookbook of 31 menus that could be adapted for restaurant or home kitchens, with quantities adjusted for two, six, 20, or 75 servings. Most notably, every step of every recipe — even the toasting of a bun for a cheeseburger — was accompanied by a close-up photo. The book became an international bestseller.
Last year, Adrian and his team unveiled elBulli1846, a culinary academy and think tank for gastronomic innovation on the site of the former restaurant. In the introduction to the newly released 10th anniversary edition of “The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria” (Phaidon, $45), Adria notes that those same homey, timeless recipes are now feeding their new “family” of researchers.