Spain's elBulli restaurant to reopen for lucky few

MADRID (AP) — Spain's famous elBulli restaurant will temporarily reopen later this year as renowned chef-owner Ferran Adria trains actors for a movie based on his iconic but shuttered eatery.

The location is still being determined, Adria told The Associated Press on Thursday. It could reopen at its original seaside location in Roses, where Adria presided over an impressive Michelin three-star status for more than a decade. Or they might recreate the restaurant elsewhere to train the as yet unchosen actors for "El Bulli," a film that will mix fact and fiction about Adria and restaurant's final year.

elBulli, which Adria closed in July 2011, was rated the world's best restaurant five times by British magazine The Restaurant. Adria, whose modernist approach to cooking pushes the boundaries of avant-garde, often has been described as the planet's most talented and imaginative chef.

Also unknown is who will get a seat at the table during the reopening, expected to last about a month.

Meals will be served to the public during the training sessions, Adria said in a telephone interview. But those customers might be selected by lottery, or by Adria and movie executives. A reservation system has been ruled out. elBulli got millions of reservation requests when it was open, but was able to serve just thousands each season it was open from June to December.

Adria said he insisted on training the actors in return for his participation in the production of the film. "The people who appear in the movie have got to see us work, and they have to see Ferran Adria work," he said.

The film's producer, Jeff Kleeman, told the website The Daily Meal that the training session will see actors working in the kitchen and the dining room so they "understand in totality what that full experience of working and running and dining at elBulli is."

Though Kleeman indicated that the elBulli restaurant site in Spain's northeastern Catalonia region will be used, Adria said a decision still must be made on whether the training will happen there or at a recreated version of the restaurant, possibly in Hollywood.

This isn't the restaurant's first move to the big screen. Adria previously was the focus of a 2011 documentary, "El Bulli: Cooking in Progress." The new elBulli movie, which is being produced and financed by Vendome Pictures, is from a screenplay based on the book by Lisa Abend, "The Sorcerer's Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adria's elBulli."

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Associated Press writer Alan Clendenning contributed to this report.

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