The Times just posted an obituary of the other genius of el Bulli, Julie Soler. He was a sweet man and a true gourmand. The last time I saw him, he had invited me almost last minute to the restaurant. On my first visit, I asked him if he knew the great Catalan maitre d'hotel Antoine Ventura whose suaveness charmed diners for years at Pere Bise, Troisgros, Alain Chapel and LeDivellec. Of course he did, and he was so happy I knew this man that he ran into the kitchen to tell Adria. That is how we became acquaintances who appreciated our respective gourmandising. But this should be all about Julie. He knew a great chef when he saw one, and in so doing, he started Adria on his way. As far as I can tell, he was the last restaurant figure whose influence on dining is equal to that of a great chef. Tel me if I'm wrong. Regardless, he ran a restaurant that took your breath away in every respect: location, interior, graphic and industrial design, the tone and efficiency of service and, of course, cuisine that rewrote history.
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