Chef Albert Adria of Inopia - Biography

Barcelona, Spain

August 2010

The Adrià name is known far and wide in the culinary world. Ferran Adrià gained fame as the hyper-modern brains behind the now legendary Spanish restaurant el Bulli, while his younger brother, Albert Adrià earned his stripes in the culinary world as the behind-the-scenes pastry genius.

Raised in a working class neighborhood on the outskirts of Barcelona, Albert Adrià’s culinary curiosity came from Ferran. In 1985, at the age of 15, the younger Adrià left school to join the team at el Bulli. For two years, he worked his way through every station of the kitchen. But pastry is where Adrià stayed: “I instantly felt comfortable. I had my little ‘micromundo’ where I was basically left to myself.”

During the winters, when el Bullicloses its doors, Adrià worked in renowned pastelerías like Tutull in Terrassa and Escribá in Barcelona. He did a stage at Totel in Elda, with master chef Francisco Torreblanca, and in Paris with Guy Savoy.

In 1997, Adrià left el Bullito dedicate himself full-time to his first solo book, Los Postres de El Bulli (El Bulli Desserts), which was released in 1998. At the same time, el Bulli’s laboratory, called Taller, began; it consisted of a table, four books, and two chairs, one for Albert and one for collaborator Chef Oriol Castro. The Taller soon proved indispensable, and a larger headquarters was chosen in the heart of Barcelona. Together with Castro and Ferrán, Albert devoted himself entirely to brainstorming new ideas for the following year’s menu. During this period, he continued to press his education further, with stages at Michel Bras, The Fat Duck, Mugaritz, and with Martin Berasategui and Charlie Trotter, among others.

In 2006, Adrià left el Bulli and Taller to open Inopia Classic Bar in Barcelona, along with his childhood friend Juan Martínez. The bar is a break from the constant creative pressure of el Bulli, with the focus on traditional “fer vermut,” the Catalan style of enjoying tapas. With Inopia, Adrià has returned to the classics, although he readily admits that the techniques that he uses and the planning stages for the menu are anything but conventional.

In 2009, Adrià published his second non-collaborative book, Natura, to widespread acclaim.