World-renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adria poses during the presentation of the exhibition "Ferran Adria. AFP
When the pandemic struck, top chef Ferran Adria was in the final phases of preparing to reopen his world-famous El Bulli restaurant nine years after it closed.
Although the rest of the world ground to a halt, this highly-decorated Catalan chef has been using the lockdown to work around the clock to ensure the August opening goes ahead as planned.
And when it does, the newly-transformed restaurant which held three Michelin stars, will reopen as a creativity laboratory to foster inventions in both gastronomy and other areas.
But for this Spanish master of molecular cuisine, the virus has caused "a lot of grief" for the sector, even if it has transformed many people's relationship with their own kitchens at home, he told the media.
‘A brutal situation’
"It's a brutal situation, a real tragedy," he admitted, saying the crisis had silenced all other debates raging within the sector.
"Now the question is: if I'm solvent, I will be able to open my business. If I'm not, I won't."
After being shuttered for months, restaurants now face tough, restrictive conditions for reopening, with new norms limiting capacity and social distancing, which could spell disaster for many, he said.
"It's not like you just open and that's the end of it. When you're in hospitality, either you're 70 per cent full or you're not running a viable business, except in some cases."
And if people can't freely associate with friends and family, it reduces the chances of them going out to eat.
"With all the problems they're talking about, are you likely to go to a restaurant and spend 100 euros? No," Adria said.
"We go to restaurants because it's sociable. The most important thing is to be with friends. To eat well, yes, but with friends. If you can't do that, it's going to be very difficult."Agence France-Presse
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