Interview with Chef Ferrán Adrià of El Bulli – Roses, Spain

July 2005

Ferrán Adrià discusses obesity, health education and his new fast-food operation, Fast Good.

Antoinette Bruno: Explain the concept behind Fast Good.
Ferrán Adrià: Fast Good makes really good food at a fast pace with a good price. I am not doing this for the business. The money is good, but I am more interested in health and the food debate.

AB: How fast will the food be prepared? Will everything be made to order or will burgers be cooked in large numbers just before lunch service?
FA: The burgers and fries will be prepared to order, but the salad is made ahead of time.

AB: You're making burgers from veal and using olive oil for fries. Are people ready for these ingredients coming from a quick service restaurant, and aren’t they more expensive?
FA: Yes, it is more expensive, but it makes the difference between Fast Good and fast food. We’re using fresh potatoes and olive oil instead of processed potatoes and trans-fat. The meat is natural without hormones.

AB: Will it be difficult to prepare everything fresh each day? Are you employing experienced chefs or untrained cooks for this venture? What are the cost considerations?
FA: I don’t use the un-trained fast food cooks or highly trained cooks. I use labor with a little experience, so they are not quite as expensive.

AB: How do you maintain quality control with less experienced cooks?
FA: Good equipment and ingredients, of course, and well trained people. You must have good people. There needs to be someone who knows the difference between what is quality and what cannot be served. The quality should go up over time, and I visit, check what is going on, and fix any problems.

AB: Will you incorporate any of your innovative techniques into Fast Good’s menu or keep it more pared down and simple?
FA: The important thing is that it is good food. “Innovative” doesn’t work as well in this case. Simplest is best for Fast Good.

AB: Why do you feel that Spain, renowned for its long lunches and siestas, will embrace a fast lunch option? Is this a foreign misconception about lunch in Spain?
FA: I don’t know a country that works as hard as Spain. The people don’t care about their long lunches and siestas now.