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Discover Mugaritz


Mugaritz and the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language will collaborate in a scientific study to discover the cerebral bases of creativity.


The chef’s brain will be observed to see if during the creative process of Mugaritz- from January to April- they undergo any change and which cerebral regions are activated when different culinary solutions are improvised.

What is the recipe for creativity? How do the most brilliant ideas occur in a chef’s brain? With the aim of answering these questions, Mugaritz and BCBL have embarked upon a collaboration to research the mysteries of creativity in a chef’s brain and to better understand the processes.

Creativity is a relatively new area. The BCBL and both Andoni Luis Aduriz and his R+D team have initiated this scientific research to learn more about how it works.

Firstly a group of chefs who are only beginning their professional career will be studied to determine if any changes happen in their brain during an intensive three month period of R+D. Afterwards,  a group of some twenty experienced chefs- including some of Mugaritz- will have the regions which are activated while improvising creative solutions mapped. In parallel, a third test will delve into the perception of the esthetic value of avant garde cuisine in comparison to the traditional, both on professional chefs and amateurs.

Every year Mugaritz closes its doors for three months to work on creativity. During this period, chefs develop new concepts to create a multisensorial experience, based on the combination of unusual ingredients, attractive presentation and avant-garde techniques. The best creations form the menu for the next season.

The chefs will undergo a MRI scan to determine if functional changes arise in the brain during this intensive creative process.  Initially a group of participants will be observed to see how their brain functions are before the experiments begins and once again after it finishes.

Moreover, while the chefs are creating combinations and solutions that characterized the creative thinking up process the regions of the brain which are activated will be mapped. It will also reflect how the different networks of neurons interact. During the MRI scan a series of ingredients and techniques will be mentioned to them for example different seaweed and then they will be asked to develop creative solutions.