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Ferrán Adrià began his famed culinary career washing dishes at a French restaurant in the town of Castelldefels, Spain. Here, Adrià familiarized himself with basic cooking methods as he applied a variety of culinary techniques, building his gastronomic repertoire. Adrià then went on to work at various restaurants before becoming assistant chef at Finisterre, a popular Barcelona restaurant. Following that, he served in the Spanish military at the Naval Base of Cartagena, where he was suitably stationed in the kitchen. In 1984, at the age of 22, Adrià joined the kitchen staff of El Bulli, and only 18 months later, he became head chef.
El Bulli, located on the coast of Catalonia on the outskirts of Barcelona, was known as a traditional French restaurant. When Adrià joined the staff, the restaurant’s manager, Juli Soler, urged Adrià to travel in order to acquire new and fresh culinary ideas. Adrià soon began touring some of France’s top kitchens, learning various techniques from many distinguished culinary masters. During the second half of the 1980’s, Adrià began performing culinary experiments, which were based on the use of fresh materials and adapting classic Mediterranean preparations to give El Bulli’s cuisine new twists with creative flair.
Among the many experiments Adrià conducted, one of the most impressive and well received was his use of foams. This technique, consisting of aerating ingredients with a siphon, introduces minute bubbles which alter the texture of food. Adrià began applying this culinary method to both sweet and savory dishes always respecting his philosophy of combining unexpected contrasts of flavor, temperature and texture. His culinary approaches are intended to provoke, surprise and delight the diner.
In line with Adrià’s experimental philosophy, he dutifully closes El Bulli for six months every year in order to travel abroad, in search of new inspiration and ideas with which to astonish his diners. And amazed they are. Adrià, who has been called “the Salvador Dali of the kitchen,” has won global acclaim as one of the most creative and inventive culinary geniuses in the world.