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For 15 years Madrid Fusion has been an established highlight of the Spanish culinary calendar. This is where budding chefs rub shoulders with  gastro stars, top wines are sipped and spat, truffles auctioned, jamon iberico sliced, estate olive oils swallowed, and new products are launched. I’ve just returned – replete – from the 2018 edition where it felt distinctly like the food world is on a cusp, saying goodbye to the exotic fusions, imported ingredients and elaborate techniques of yesterday, and instead returning to local produce and traditional techniques of preserving and fermenting. Finally – back to earth.

Tapa-glass


Having just emerged from a mega gastro-binge courtesy of Madrid Fusion, Spain’s annual convention of all things foodie and drinkie, I decided a few thoughts about chefs and their chosen paths were called for. The get-together is a rare opportunity to see multiple Michelin stars all a-glitter in one place, packed into a three day program, talking about discoveries, passions, science – plus a bit about cooking. The majority of them took the convention theme “post avant-garde” and ran with it – in all directions. And that is what made me question the role of super-chefs today.

red_bream


Three days of intense gastro activity earlier this week characterised Madrid Fusion, the annual jamboree of roughly 100 international chefs plus armies of sous-chefs and trainees. Although 90% are Spanish. a handful of foreign chefs are invited, this year from the Andean axis (aka Peru, Bolivia and Chile) and from Flanders. Despite these regions being from opposite sides of the world, they showed unexpected similarities – making full use of the `local` (from llama meat to North Sea bycatch) and wild indigenous plants. So does that mean we have reached the end of gastronomic hyperbole?

chef jackets