The Leaders of Enogastronomy

Albert Adrià shares his journey: "From 5 restaurants to 1, but now I'm prioritizing the time with my family."

Alessandra Meldolesi
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The balance between private life and work, known as "conciliacion" in Spanish, is the current gastronomic theme. Albert Adrià returns to discuss it, having learned a life lesson from the pandemic.

Cover photo: @JORDI OTIX

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There are chefs who proudly run a single establishment, such as Mauro Uliassi and the Portinari brothers. Others who never seem tired of planting their flags across the five continents. The difference also lies in a certain expression of relaxation, which then returns to the plate. A subject that Albert Adrià touches on again, more than satisfied to have pruned many flourishing branches with the complicity of COVID.

Enigma de Albert Adria Foto Valerii Piataiev
@Valerii Piataiev

His focus is singular, complete concentration: "I don't plan on leaving Enigma throughout the year, because taking on other commitments would mean a month away from the kitchen and eighty flights to catch," he tells Congresses, new collaborations, or video appearances are banned; past commitments are honored, such as the partnership with Sushi Shop, the Italian pasta Atavi, the four-handed dinners with Rasmus Munk (three events at 800 euros per cover) and Sartoria Panatieri, the vegan cheese Julienne Brunno, and the tribute to Massimo Bottura in Miami, which will finance his foundation. While Cake & Bubbles in London and Mercado Little Spain in New York with José Andrés continue by inertia, the hope is that younger talents will make their way onto the stage. On Calle de Sepulveda, there's an elaborate menu to manage, featuring 32 "generous" tastings, both in language and in product.

Albert adria uovo fritto e caviale

"It's an extreme physical and mental exhaustion. Last year, I took the plane 83 times. If I calculate approximately how much time it takes me to accept all the invitations I receive every year, I easily end up with a month away from the restaurant. This isn't good. I pay fifty employees and manage a place that measures seven hundred square meters: I'm committed to Enigma. Then there's another fact, which I don't forget: the pandemic has taught me a life lesson. I went from managing five restaurants, with all that entails, to just one, and I promised my family to spend evenings at home. I always remember that." This is why the opening hours are unique: from Monday to Thursday for dinner, and on Fridays also for lunch.

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"I am happy when I cook, and I do it every day. And I feel good because when I am here, at Enigma, nothing bad can happen to me," he continues. In Spain, there were those who, before the release of the red guide, spoke of promotion from one to three Michelin stars, which did not happen. "But I never believed it because the inspectors had only visited once in March, and also because I am distancing myself from this whole world. We chefs are chess pieces they move at their own pleasure. I look at things with distance, even with respect. And it wouldn't have been good for Enigma either because I am convinced that we are not a three-star restaurant."

Albert adria calamaro con consomme acido

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