Celebrated Spanish restaurateur Ferran Adria will have more than money in mind when he visits next week for an auction of the cellar contents from his now-closed restaurant, El Bulli.
Adria, one of the world's most influential and creative chefs, wants to renew his acquaintance with the city's cuisine, particularly its Cantonese specialties.
"It has been a long time since I visited Hong Kong," he said in an e-mail interview.
"I recall [from] my earlier visits many great restaurants which I hope to return to, and I also intend to visit new ones to have a better understanding of restaurant culture in Hong Kong.
"There are many dishes, mostly Cantonese, which I have a passion for. Surely, I will try more than just dim sum."
In addition to the wines, other El Bulli memorabilia, such as chefs' jackets signed by Adria, custom-made serving dishes and cutlery, as well as the chance to dine with the chef in Spain - opening bid at HK$40,000 - will be on the block on April 3. A second auction will take place in New York on April 26.
"Hong Kong is one of the most wonderful cities in the world," Adria said. "When Sotheby's asked us to hold the first auction there , we thought it was a fantastic idea."
Open for only six months a year, El Bulli was once the hardest Michelin three-star restaurant to get into, with a reported two million requests for about 8,000 seats available each season.
Proceeds from the auction will go to the El Bulli Foundation - a non-profit organisation that Adria started after the restaurant closed in 2011 - which is scheduled to launch next year.
"The El Bulli Foundation is born with a dual vocation," Adria said.
"Firstly, to safeguard the legacy of El Bulli … For that, the original El Bulli building at Cala Montjoi outside the town of Roses will be transformed into a space to hold a permanent exhibition, with a timeline to help understand the historical and culinary evolution," he said.
As part of the foundation's work, established chefs from around the world will come together to create, exchange and develop new ideas.
Adria says that it's his way of giving something back to the society that gave him such acclaim. "We want to return the favour in some form all that we have received over the years, and our way of doing it is to help cooks expand their knowledge, and for those who choose to create can do so in an easier fashion," he said.