NEW YORK, April 27 Food lovers dug deep on
Friday night and spent a total of more than $900,000 at an
auction on pieces of Catalonia's famed elBulli restaurant, from
wines to cutlery to dinner with its head chef, Ferran Adria.
The auction at Sotheby's, featuring some 625 lots from the
now-closed Michelin three-star temple of gastronomy had been
estimated to take in about $750,000, but determined foodies
drove the total to $913,605, the auction house said.
The event followed a similar sale in Hong Kong earlier this
month which took in $1.8 million, bringing the overall total for
the two auctions to $2,718,909, more than twice the low
estimate, with proceeds earmarked for the elBullifoundation and
the transformation of elBulli into a space that will double
as a food museum and culinary creativity center set to open in
The world-famous restaurant was once the home of avant-garde
haute cuisine molecular gastronomy.
While the top lot was four bottles of Romanée Conti 2004
signed by Adrià and Juli Soler, which fetched $52,062, nearly
double the high estimate, all eyes were on the featured offering
of an exclusive dinner for four with Adrià at his brother
Albert's Tickets restaurant in Barcelona.
Eight bidders vied for the experience, which was won by an
Asian buyer bidding online who paid $36,750, or about $9,200 per
person. Sotheby's said 42 percent of the buyers had never before
participated in one of its wine auctions.
The remaining top prices were all fetched by rare wines,
such as six bottles of Pingus 1995, a highly coveted Spanish
wine, which soared to $10,412, or more than three times the
pre-sale estimate despite some bottles have scuffed labels.
A Laguiole knife collection sold for $6,125, while a signed
Ferran Adrià chef jacket went for $3,063.
At its peak, elBulli, which was opened only part of the year
and accommodated about 7,000 diners in the northern Catalonian
town of Roses, received 2 million reservations requests a year.
Saying it had "completed its journey as a restaurant,"
elBulli closed in 2011 after a 27-year run that included being
rated the world's top restaurant for four consecutive years in
the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants.