October 3, 2018
Entrepreneur of enigmas
He stood side by side with his brother Ferran for 10 years as elBulli’s pastry chef. Together, along with chef Oriol Castro, they founded a research and creativity workshop where the dishes of the most brilliant restaurant ever were thought up. His mastery as a pastry chef can be seen in his books Los postres de elBulli, and Natura, great and refined reference books on avant-garde pastry-making, and also the first influences of the singular restaurant, Tickets, as well as his book Tapas; not to mention his contribution to all the publications put out by elBulli.
He saw that specialising in tapas and their popularity could be propitious, but envisioned them presented with a new culinary twist. In 2008, he left elBulli to open Inopia, an establishment that now has cult status. Three years later – with total support from Ferran and the Iglesias brothers (Rías de Galicia and Spai Cru) – he set up Tickets, an exciting scenario where tapas reached extraordinary heights; something akin to elBulli, but created with fewer steps, with unexpected geniality and effectiveness, where individually assigned waiters bring you a constant stream of specialities, many of them involving a short acted scene, or dishes cooked personally for you at one of the six apparently haphazardly arranged bar tables. Some are must-trys, such as the oyster, served at the peak of the season, together with sparkling seaweed and topped with an edible pearl made by spherifying the oyster’s natural jus; a truly Bullinian inspired idea that is never off the menu, despite other changes.
An initiative in the Paralelo area of Barcelona, ElBarri is the brainchild of Albert. Five establishments within close range to each other are showcases of: the pulsing energy of Ibero-American cuisines (Pakta and Hoja Santa); the splendour of vermouth (Bodega 1900); astonishing tapas (Tickets); and the power of Enigma, a multi-faceted stage of infinite space and insatiable supply, where critics and ‘worshippers’ from all over the world discover the expressiveness of an updated and urban Bulli; another of Albert’s gastronomic wonders based on talent, timeliness, produce and a great team. In whatever order you like.