Advisory Dream Team Leads Adria’s New Culinary School; More Lawsuit Rumblings From Batali Employees

 

When he announced he’d be closing his world-famous El Bulli, chef Ferran Adrià made his plans for an upcoming new culinary school known. According to Time, the advisory board of Adrià’s new Basque Culinary Center recently came together in San Sebastian to brainstorm about the new institution. The culinary dream team – chefs from around the world, including New York’s Dan Barber, Copenhagen’s Rene Redzepi, and London’s Heston Blumenthal – met in the beachside Spanish city to discuss the aims and goals of the new school. Tackling culinary consciousness, a mission of the school will be to educate students on various aspects of the current food system, including genetically modified ingredients, hunger crises, and other facets of the world of cooking.

“We’re talking about the role of the chef in the future,” Dan Barber, the only North American chef on the council, told reporters at the meeting. “And in that sense, it’s not the revolution inside the kitchen that matters the most.”

Founder Adrià indicated that he was thrilled with the meeting of culinary minds.

“This is turning into something much more serious than I expected,” he told TIME. “But it makes sense. These are all people who have changed the history of cuisine in their own countries. Get them together and it becomes clear: through cooking, you can make the world a better place.”

Unfortunately, chef Mario Batali and restaurateur Joe Bastianich continue to battle unhappy employees. According to the Washington Post, New York’s Del Posto restaurant is the latest to become embroiled in conflict. Representatives from the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York reported last week that thirty-five of Del Posto’s workers are in the planning stages of a workplace lawsuit, alleging violations ranging from physical and sexual harassment to tip misappropriation. The talk of a lawsuit comes on the heels of a similar litigation recently filed by Babbo employees, with representatives from ROC concerned that legal action from the Del Posto complaints may be unavoidable.

“We’re still speaking with the company,” said [ROC’s co-director Rekha] Eanni-Rodriguez. “I don’t think they really have a sincere interest to fix things. We’re at the point where the workers wanted to really take actions.”

To make matters worse, nearly two dozen workers held protests outside the Del Posto’s 10th Avenue location last week as well.

Bastianich and Batali’s newest eatery, the grand Eataly, will open later this month.

~Jennifer Heigl