help jules find a date for el bulli

el bulli
photo credit: Ian L

You might think it’s a sad state of affairs when a restaurant reservation out lasts a relationship. But when said reservation is for the best restaurant in the world and was secured over 12 months in advance – it doesn’t seem quite so tragic.

Last month, sadly, the Irishman and I parted ways. And so I found myself with a ticket to Spain, a reservation at the best restaurant in the world – and no one to share it with.

At the suggestion of my writing mentor I decided to hold a competition to find myself a blind date for the 15th December 2009. And here we are.

what is el Bulli?

According to some, elBulli is the best restaurant in the world and has been for the last few years. It is notoriously difficult to snag a chance to dine there – in 2008 there were over 2 million requests for 8000 tables.

I haven’t seen any stats on the 2009 season but given that it closes around the 20th December, I’m thinking I just scraped in – landing a table on the 15th.

who is jules?

Jules Clancy (thats me) is a food blogger and the type of girl who plans her holidays around restaurant reservations. I am always thinking about my next meal and have excellent table manners.

As a food scientist I’m really excited about the work of Ferran Adria and that someone is finally bringing some glamour to the profession. While my personal cooking style is much more conventional and minimalist, I can’t wait to experience the crazy language of el Bulli.

If that hasn’t convinced you that this competition is worth entering and that I’d make an excellent dining companion – you can read more about my story HERE.

how it works

i. Check to see if your diary and budget will allow you to be in Spain on Tuesday 15th December 2009.

ii. Email me – jules[at]thestonesoup[dot]com and convince me that you are the best person to share my evening at el bulli.
points will be given for humour and creativity.

iii. Cross your fingers

Entries close Sunday 15th November 2009.

The fine print.

The winning entrant will be notified by email and the results published on stonesoup – unless the winner wishes to remain anonymous.

The winner will be responsible for all their own travel and accommodation costs they will also be expected to pay their own way for dinner.

It is at the discretion of the winner whether the date is in fact blind, or whether there is a meeting prior to the 15th Dec.

The judge’s decision will be final and no other correspondence shall be entered into.


A big THANKYOU to everyone who got involved.

The competition ended up being much much bigger than I ever dreamed. I’d asked my friend Heidi who lives in London to come with me if I didn’t get any entries – I think she’s a little disappointed.

To view the winning entry check out my tumblr page HERE.

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Belce November 10, 2009 at 5:19 am

Hi Jules, I’m sorry about it your relation whit your boy, but sometimes the life are hard. My name is Jordi, (Belce is my nick, already it will you because), I’m Catalan, 40 years old, single, and the people describe me: gentlemen whit powerfull character, agreeable, good-looking and with a wonderful smile.
My hobbie is the gastronomy, iin all my trips always I have tried to find the different secrets that every country or culture me can contribute, thus you can deal and understand more his people. From New York to Lima, Iquitos, Mauritius, India, Morocco, Tunis, all Europe , Malta, the Carib, La Havana and few more places , where I could enjoy the culinary secrets of every culture and learn to eating of everything and with all.
The best phrase that I have gathered in my trips was that of Tanzano friend called Nboro that was ending all his lunchs with this phrase: ” niama ning niama too ” that everything means ” is eaten “.
Certainly, I pay this food since you come to my country. Up to soon my darling.

Pole November 10, 2009 at 7:40 am


Liz Oldeman November 10, 2009 at 8:37 am

Love to take you for dinner love, but if I have to pay for it I reckon we´ll just have some sandwiches. Afterwards I can take you to play some pool and have a few laughs with the locals. Anyway, good on ya for breaking up and make sure to get a right replacement, that is, if you think you still need one. Anyway, hope you find a nice date and if you don´t: make sure to call; we´ll have some nice tapa´s and I can play some Crowded House on the guitar for you if you´re homesick.
G´day and keep it cooking!!

mitch November 10, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Hi Jules,
LOVE to go, but cant :-( Though cannot wait to hear about your dining experience. Have an amazing time.

maree November 10, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Hi jules,

I decided to read this story out on my radio program……as I do community radio.
Good luck girl.

josep November 11, 2009 at 5:18 am

Hey !! ami tambien me gusta Ferran Adria estoy cerca de Girona

Marcus November 11, 2009 at 6:30 am

Hi Jules , Drove past El Bulli the other day and briefly daydreamed about how wonderfully ridiculous it would be to dine there some day. Well heres my chance! All I have to do is impress you with my dazzeling wit and general bon hommi. Um…..Um….. Nothing like pressure to preform for an attractive intelligent woman. Whatever! The cost is not irrellavent to me as I am supposed to be saving my pennies to build a house next year, but I believe in living like a poorper most of the time and a prince once in a blue moon. A bit of ying and yang. Mediocraty gets on my breasts!!!. I can promise to take you there in a nice motor which is about as old as me. I do hope you like it as it is my favorite in the whole world. Better get a taxi after, I sure dont intend to watch you drink all the wine. Actually thinking about that would be fine. Who ever you go with, I hope its surpasses all expectations. Now I shall endeaver to surpress mine. Regards Marcus

Dan Wilson November 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm

A wonderful blog full of fantastic photos and great tasty treats. An awesome experience awaits for you and a very fortunate accompanier at El Bulli … have a treasured time …

Lou November 16, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Go Clancy. I am backing you all the way on this one.

Matt November 18, 2009 at 1:13 am

What happened? The deadline came and went… don’t keep us waiting Jules, the suspense is killing me!

jules November 18, 2009 at 5:04 am

Sorry Matt – the winner is a Canadian doctor. To read the winning entry go to

Guillem November 21, 2009 at 1:26 am

If you need a translation for it? You can ask me for it.

Hola Jules, puc donar-te mil raons per poder acompanyar-te al El Bulli, però no ho faré per no aburrir-te. Així doncs només te’n donaré una i curta.En El Bulli es parlen molts idiomes, entre ells el català, idioma matern d’en Juli Soler i adoptat d’en Ferran Adrià. Aquesta carta que t’escric età escrita en aquest idioma. Anar al El Bulli amb algú que parli aquest idioma pot fer que gaudeixis una mica més de l’essencia i història d’aquest lloc màgic. Tinc ganes d’explicar-te aquesta història (al menys la part que conec) i ensenyar-te algunes paraules en el nostre idioma.

Un petò des de Barcelona

amifesels November 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Great Article , I considered it tremendous

I look forward to more innovative postings like this one. Does Your Blog have a subscription I can subscribe to for fresh posts?

Alejandro December 5, 2009 at 8:36 am

I am studiying cooking
i wath an reportage from bully and i want eat here
thanks a lot for choose me

IMMA December 6, 2009 at 12:43 am

Hola Jules¡¡¡ me encantaria ir al Buli , y el dia es perfecto el 16 de diciembre es mi cumpleaños, seria una celebracion perfecta¡¡¡ mi mejor regalo, yo vivo en la provincia de Girona asi que no te fallaré , un saludo espero que me elijas¡¡¡

Gloria Salvestro December 14, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Hi Julie

I went to El Bulli in August this year. I got to go at the last minute when my friends were unable to go. I booked my flights on the Wednesday, flew out on Saturday to eat on the Monday. It was a crazy thing to do, but I had to do it! Once in a lifetime opportunity. I pretty much had a blind date too with two guys from Melbourne who entered a competition in The Epicure for the other two tickets from the table of 3 that was available. It was interesting going with strangers, but because we all had hospitality backgrounds we were all on the same page.

Have a great time. It is a mind exploding experience. Still can’t believe I got to go!
Hope you picked a good date! Can’t wait to compare your experiences and thoughts on the experience! We were the first booking to arrive and pretty much the last to leave… we did’nt want to!!!! My advice is to have a very light lunch! – if any! There portion sizes are bigger than I expected considering there were so many courses.

I too could’nt get enough of the Jamon… did’nt know what the fuss was about when I used to read about it in magazines…… UNTIL I got to taste it at La Bouqueria! I basically lived there too when I was in Barcelona. I loved to look at the fresh food everyday.

Anyway, Good Luck!

Clara December 16, 2009 at 11:53 am

Hey dear Jules,
hoping your trip to Spain is going fantastically, culminating in a memorable evening at El Bulli last night, that turned out to be everything you’d hoped for and more…Enjoy the rest of your stay in Espana, have a safe trip back, and a lovely Christmas looking forward to the start of an amazing 2010 for you, Love Cx …ps Love the simple things in life…Catalan Bread…mmm….

jules December 19, 2009 at 7:06 am

thanks miss clara – couldn’t agree with you more about catalan bread xx

catherine December 17, 2009 at 1:22 pm

You can’t possibly blame this on time zone differences any more….
how was it? the isomalt? the agar agar? the date with the american?
we need a report from the front lines!

jules December 19, 2009 at 7:03 am

so sorry to keep you waiting catherine – had to finish digesting before I wrote – took a while.
it was fabulous – have the writeup on my new restaurant review blog eat|shop|drink.

Gisele June 5, 2010 at 6:40 am

Hi Jules, how was your date? And how was the food??

I think I’m in the same situation now. I made a reservation at El Bulli for me and my boyfriend this year 2010 but now we’ve kind of split up ! I will still go but I need to find someone to go with me !! :-/

jules June 5, 2010 at 11:18 am

hey gisele
congrats on the reservation. sorry to hear that you’ve found yourself in the same situation as me – don’t worry you’ll easily find someone to go with you. but the thing is it’s such an amazing food-focused meal that you could go with the most boring person ever and still have a brilliant night.

enjoy – I wish I were going again.

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