World-Renown Spanish Chef Ferran Adrià Whets MBA Appetites for Gastronomic Innovation

The San Francisco Bay Area is well known for its hunger for innovation in everything from hot technologies to cutting-edge cuisine. As a result, the Haas School has been selected as the only West Coast business school to participate in the “Ideas for Transformation” global MBA challenge competition sponsored by the elbulliFoundation and Telefonica, Spain.

Ferran Adrià, the widely acclaimed chef behind El Bulli restaurant in Rosas, Spain, will visit Haas Tuesday, Oct. 11, to introduce Berkeley MBA students to the competition and conduct a “master class” in cooking innovation.

The elBulliFoundation is the brainchild of Adrià, who the New York Times has described as “the dean of molecular gastronomy." His inventions include liquid ravioli; caviar made from olive oil; an elliptical olive that is pure liquid; pine cone mousse; and Parmesan snow. After El Bulli closed in August, Adria decided to create a “pioneering centre for gastronomic creativity and innovation.”

During the competition, three-member teams will work to develop strategies and models to guide the elBullifoundation launch in 2014. All finalists will travel to the elbulliFoundation in Costa Brava, Spain. The winning team will win €10,000. The other four schools in addition to Berkeley-Haas selected to participate in the competition are Harvard, Columbia, ESADE, and London Business School.

"The competition is not just about food and innovation but also about utilizing new media and technology in realizing Mr. Adrià's vision," says Julia Min Hwang, executive director of the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program. "I think Haas students will deliver in all these areas."

Haas teams will be selected through an internal process. "Ferran Adrià's visit to Berkeley-Haas is an amazing opportunity for the Haas community to help one of the world's most famous chefs to turn his restaurant elBulli into a foundation that will contribute to society, " says Iñaki Ruiz, MBA 12, who is from Madrid. “Adria is definitely in tune with some of the core Berkeley-Haas values, as he goes beyond himself and questions the status quo."

The competition is part of a four-year agreement in which Adrià becomes Telefonica’s first global ambassador.

Pea Jelly Banana and Lime Ice Cream