The Night elBulli Danced

This past weekend, a handful of the world's best chefs, including Rene Redzepi, Joan Roca and Grant Achatz, gathered in the speckled morning sunlight of Spain's Cala Montjoi to commemorate a passing. It should have been a sad occasion. But the man who had brought them all together emphasized that there was no death, only transformation. "My brother Albert said we had to kill the monster," said Ferran Adrià. "But I said, No, we have to tame it."

The monster to which Adrià referred is elBulli, the restaurant that he and his brother — along with, over the past 25 years, roughly 2,000 other chefs, cooks, waiters and captains — have made the most acclaimed and influential of our time. As anyone even mildly interested in food knows by now, elBulli served its last meal as a restaurant on July 30. But for the journalists who came from around the world for that morning's press conference, as well as for the close friends and longtime patrons lucky enough to dine that night, the occasion felt like anything but a wake. Time