Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Mauro Colagreco Captures Mirazur in New Cookbook



“A blank menu changes every day with the landscape. Sea, garden and mountain in 365 seasons” Mauro Colagreco

Having racked up a decade with Mirazur, Mauro Colagreco, decided it was time to put pen to paper. The time had finally come to write his debut cookbook, in honour of achieving a full cycle with his award-winning French Riviera restaurant.

The long-awaited read, published in June, takes the same name as the 2 Michelin starred restaurant, and invites readers into Argentine-Italian chef's magical culinary universe from the top down. Giving those that have been and those that haven't yet been, a moment to appreciate this unique culinary destination on the French-Italian border.

Set in a picturesque location at the foot of the Alpes-Maritimes nestled amidst lush gardens with panoramic sea views, Mirazur's cuisine is defined by its landscape and the interaction between the sea, the mountains, the colours and aromas of the gardens and the stillness of the horizon. All captured with photographs by friend Eduardo Torres, of the dishes, the restaurant and its unparalleled setting,

As well as giving away some of the restaurant's recipes, Colagreco also introduces the reader to the artisans and producers that form part of his everyday life and a key role in the restaurant. From Giuseppe and his boat in San Remo to Ane Marie and her family of shepherds.

As the chef says, it is a magical union between the French savoir vivre and the Italian bella vita, turning each dish into a unique creation where divisions disappear and everything is balanced in his unique "border cuisine.”

So if you haven't yet dined at Mirazur, perhaps this could be just the push you needed and discover why it sits at #3 on the World's 50 Best Restaurant list!

If you can't wait try this exclusive recipe from Mauro Colagreco showcasing earthy mushrooms:

World Gourmet Festival Brings the Stars to Bangkok


This year's grandiose World Gourmet Festival, sponsored by S.Pellegrino returns once again with full vigour for the 19th edition organised by Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel.

A host of international chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants in the US, Europe and the Far East, as well as an award-winning chocolatier and some returning familiar faces, will all be in the Thai capital, from 3 to 9 September 2018.

While lavish meals take over the hotel's four main dining venues - Madison, Spice Market, Shintaro and Biscotti, a number of master cooking classes will also encourage foodies and budding chefs to roll up their sleeves and have a go. Whether it be having a go at chocolate making with chocolatier Paul A Young or tasting Sake in one of the many classes on offer.

To find what's on where and when check out the full events listing. Check out the 12 exclusive dinners below.


Chef Luigi Taglienti @ Biscotti

The Italian chef from Lume in Milan will be cooking at Biscotti for two nights only showcasing the food which has earnt him a coveted Michelin star.

Jose Avillez @ Madison

The Portuguese chef from Lisbon's two Michelin star Belcanto restaurant will cook on both 3 and 4 September at Madison restaurant.

Han Li Guang @ The Spice Market

The chef from Michelin starred Labyrinth flys in from Singapore for two nights only on 3 and 4 September.

Ryohei Hieda @ Shintaro

Ryohei opened RyuGin in Taiwan receiving 2 Michelin stars in the Taipei Guide in 2018. The two nights will also serve as the perfect opportunity to try the food from the chef at the restaurant currently listed at No.47 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list.


Chef Alessandra del Favero and Oliver Piras @ Biscotti

The talented duo from Michelin starred AGA restaurant in San Vito di Cadore, Italy will showcase their menu that focuses on the land and locality at Biscotti restaurant.

Bernard Bach @ Madison

The French chef from two Michelin starred Le Puits Saint-Jacques Restaurant in Toulouse, France will showcase his cooking celebrated for its seasonal simplicity all the while being wildly imaginative.

Jeong Ho Kim @ The Spice Market

Jeong Ho from Jungsik in Seoul, South Korea will present his philosophy centred around sourcing the finest ingredients and the careful balance of flavours for two evenings at the Spice Market.

Shinya-Otsuchihashi @ Shintaro

Shinya will take leave from his Michelin starred Craftale restaurant in Tokyo to showcase his talents on 5 and 6 September at Shintaro restaurant.


Giuseppe Iannotti @ Biscotti

The Italian chef will take leave of his Michelin starred Krèsios restaurant in Castelvenere to cook for two very special evenings at restaurant Biscotti.

Martin Dalsass @ Madison

The "olive oil pope" from Talvo by Dalsass in St.Moritz, Switzerland will leave diners in little doubt how he claimed his title on these two dedicated evenings.

Srijith Gopinathan @ Spice Market

The ambitious Indian chef will be showcasing the food that got him noticed as executive chef of two Michelin starred Campton Place in San Francisco.

Shinji Ihsida@ Shintaro

The chef from Nogizaka Shin in Tokyo will showcase the cooking that earnt him a Michelin star at Shintaro on 7 and 8 September 2018.

To ensure you get a spot at one of these exciting one off dinners be sure to book through the website.

How To Decorate a Cake with Edible Flowers: 5 Videos To Inspire Your Inner Chef



Decorating cakes with fresh flowers is a beautiful and luxurious touch. It almost makes the cake look too pretty to eat. Have you ever wondered how to decorate a cake with flowers so it turns out looking like a masterpiece instead of a disaster? The good news is you don't have to be a master baker.

Below you'll find videos that will inspire you to create gorgeous cake decorations using edible flowers(although there are also tips for using regular flowers). They are many special designs you can create using these videos as a guide.

With these tips you'll be able to create gorgeous cakes using edible flowers to celebrate birthdays, weddings, baby showers, graduations, and more.


Common edible flowers for cake decorating include roses, lavender, violets, chamomile, lilacs, and even marigolds. Discover five edible flowers and how to use them.


It's important to choose your edible flowers wisely. They should be organic and come from a reputable source. You can find plenty of vendors online but also consider perusing your local grocery store - they often have edible flowers in the refrigerated herb section.


With this video, you will learn easy patterns like the crescent, halo, ombré, and a polka dot style.


Cupcake Jemma teaches you a nifty trick to crystallize edible flowers for added flavor and texture.


If you are up for the challenging of decorating a three-tier cake with edible flowers you can't miss this video from Foot with Chetna.


Bespoke Bride walks you through the process of decorating a naked cake with edible flowers.


If you can't get your hands on edible flowers, don't fret. There is a special way you can transform regular flowers into a gorgeous cake decoration. This video shows you how to do it safely.


Discover five other creative uses for edible flowers.

Mayo Ice Cream Splits the Internet



In a move no one really asked for, an ice cream shop in Scotland has created a mayo ice cream that has since gone viral, both disgusting and intriguing the internet.

Kyle Gentlemen, who runs Ice Artisan Ice Cream in Falkirk, is known for flavouring his ice cream with out there flavours like Strongbow cider and even energy drinks, and being a big mayo fan decided to simply mix some mayo into a batch of vanilla ice cream.

His creation has since gone viral, with the unusually flavoured ice cream, which he describes as “creamy and smooth,” reports The Independent, splitting (pun intended) the crowd on social media.

@pepper_sierra on Twitter said she’d “rather die than try mayo ice cream,” while @Sketchy described it as a “logical progression” from dunking fries in ice cream as a kid.

Gentlemen says “people actually enjoy it once they try it” and that the reaction to his invention has been overwhelming.

So, would you try mayo ice cream? Let us know over on our Facebook page.

PETA Says No to Vegan Burger That Bleeds



Animal rights organisation PETA has decided not to back the famous Impossible Burger, the vegan burger that ‘bleeds,’ because one of its main ingredients is tested on animals.

In a statement on its website titled, ‘Why It’s impossible for PETA to Get Behind the Impossible Burger,’ they say that San Francisco-based, Bill Gates-backed Impossible Foods, which makes the Impossible Burger, has “decided voluntarily to test one of its burger ingredients – soy leghemoglobin –by feeding it to a total of 188 rats in three separate tests, killing them, and cutting them up, none of which it has ever been required to do in order to market its products.”

Leghemoglobin, taken from soy root, gives the burger its ‘meaty’ taste, but Impossible is not required by law to test it on animals and PETA say the company has refused to rule out testing products on animals again. The tests involved feeding the rats 200 times the amount of heme, an iron-containing compound, in the form of leghemoglobin, than the average American would get in a day from ground beef, reports Metro, before dissecting them.

“How could anyone feel good about eating something from a company that chose to feed caged rats ‘massive doses’ of a substance before they were killed and their bodies were cut up?” say PETA.

This comes in the week that the FDA in the US ruled that heme was safe for humans to consume, meaning the Impossible Burger can now be rolled out more widely, having already found favour with chefs like David Chang and May Chow, and appeared on Michelin-starred menus.

PETA also lays into the burger’s health credentials in the statement, describing it as “probably the unhealthiest veggie burger on the market,” due to its high fat and excessive iron content.

They have been known to endorse other meat substitute brands such as Beyond Meat, however.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Make an Acai Bowl With Just 3 Ingredients


Acai bowls have become an Instagram staple. Those pretty bowls loaded with fruit and bursting with color are mighty tempting. Who wouldn't love to indulge in this tropical treat? Purchasing them at smoothie shops gets expensive fast, so why not make your own acai bowls?

Below we share an exciting recipe for a gorgeous and delicious acai bowl prepared with just three ingredients. Interested? Keep reading!


An acai bowl features a frozen fruit puree topped with sliced bananas, granola, and seasonal fruits like berries, mango or coconut. The base of it all is the acai berry, which is native to Brazil.


Acai berries come from a South American palm tree. They grow in bunches like grapes but are similar to blueberries in color and size.

Acai is most commonly sold frozen or in powder form. Look for frozen acai pulp in the freezer section of your local health foods store.

Learn more about acai berries by clicking here.


Acai berries are considered a superfood because they are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and phenolic compounds that may be beneficial to heart health, according to scientific research.

These exotic berries are also loaded with vitamin A and calcium.


A 100g serving of acai berries contains 247 calories and almost twice the recommended daily value of fiber, according to Livestrong.


In the United States, many commercial acai bowls contain dairy but that ingredient is optional. The Brazilian version does not contain dairy. In fact, the beautiful purple acai puree is made from just two ingredients: acai pulp and frozen bananas.

The bananas add a silky texture to the puree and their sweetness balances the natural acidity of acai berries.

After the puree is made, it is poured into a bowl and topped with fresh bananas, strawberries, blueberries, granola, and even coconut. Some modern versions add nuts and seeds.


If you are interested in making an authentic Brazilian acai bowl you'll find an easy three-ingredient recipe below from Youtuber Adriana Harlan, who was born and raised in Brazil and is the creator of Living Healthy With Chocolate.


If you love the flavor of acai then make yourself a batch of this smoothie made from acai berries, raspberries, and yogurt.

The Roca Brothers: Inspirational Dishes


Feast your eyes on seven inspirational dishes from the Roca brothers, as they look back on some of their most important gastronomical developments.
The Roca Brothers: 7 Inspirational Dishes

The Roca brothers have been at the forefront of high gastronomy for over three decades, ever since chef Joan and sommelier Josep opened their restaurant El Celler De Can Roca, next to their parents bar in Girona. Their younger brother, Jordi, would join them on pastry later and together the three brothers have crafted one of the most exquisite and sought after dining experiences (the waiting list often stretches to a year) on the planet. Twice named World’s Best Restaurant at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, El Celler de Can Roca has held three Michelin stars since 2009.

It’s a restaurant that’s constantly evolving. Right now, Joan tells us, he and his kitchen team are studying sous vide broths, playing with fermentation, exploring ancestral cooking techniques and working on brewed drinks and liquors using local wild herbs, flowers and fruit. Meanwhile, over on pastry, Jordi Roca is working on “a new way to present and serve chocolate in our dining room, a new and spectacular dessert chariot,” he teases.

However, it’s also a restaurant that isn’t afraid to refer to or celebrate its past. Here, Joan and Jordi Roca tell us about the dishes that have meant the most to them over the years – their own inspirational dishes.

All images: El Celler de Can Roca (click on the images to enlarge).


In 1989, Joan Roca took a traditional Catalan dish of hot, stewed pigs trotter, served whole, and reinterpreted it, inspired by the fashion for carpaccio at the time. “It was the first dish that really satisfied,” he says. “I wanted to cook them as a ‘capipota’ – sliced, as a lukewarm cold meat piece, to be eaten in a new way. I deboned the trotters while hot and then I rolled them with cling film to mold them as a cylinder, then cooled them down, and chopped the roll into very thin slices. Then I seasoned the carpaccio with ceps’ oil, in which I had previously confit some Santa Pau white beans. The toasted pine nuts and the chive brought colour to the jelly layer.” The dish has now reached the menus of many Catalan restaurants, evidence, Roca says, of how modern cuisine inspired by the traditional can come full circle.


For Joan and Josep Roca, A Trip to Havana is the moment they realised Jordi had finally found his way as a dessert creator. “I began to get deeply involved in ice cream making techniques under the wing of the Sicilian Angelo Corvitto,” says Jordi. “One of the rules the master continuously repeated to me was that the work atmosphere needed to be kept completely pure. And that’s absolutely true. An ice cream is an emulsion in which air is a very important ingredient. An ice cream is a sponge for scents. This golden rule is what sparked my imagination. What would happen if I added smoke on purpose?” With the help of his father, Jordi created a water pump that drew smoke from a cigar directly into the ice cream maker. The ice cream was then presented in a cylinder of dark chocolate, to create a ‘cigar,’ and served with a 'mojito.'


“It all began with the arrival of the bergamot, the absolute essence of El Celler,” says Jordi Roca. “We were captivated by its noble scent and thick and aromatic zest. We wanted to make aroma edible.” They looked to perfume: to decipher the notes and put it on a plate, something Jordi says was “unprecedented in gastronomy” at the time. Eternity by Calvin Klein was the perfect start, with its aromatic notes of bergamot, basil, tangerine, and vanilla, orange. “We were seized by the idea,” says Jordi, “the ability of the chef to translate a language as powerful as that of perfume into another, equally powerful language, a language in which aromas combine with the edible.”

ANARCHY (2003)

"The idea came to me one day when my brothers were talking about an avocado dish – making an exhaustive analysis of the reasons behind it. I said to myself: ‘Why don’t we do something to prove that we do not always give a concrete sense to a dish?’” says Jordi Roca. Anarchy was the result, a dish of some 40-plus elements, with no fixed presentation, where the ingredients change day-to-day, month-to-month, depending on what’s available. “Each spoonful of it becomes a different dessert,” says Roca. “It’s very complex and laborious, a haphazard palette with tens of different components that the guest and chance combine without rules, a chaos-generating new organoleptic and personal experience. Everything can work, and at least tentatively, everything is possible.”

The photo at the top of this page is 'Chocolate Anarchy.'


"Everybody has tasted, accidentally or not, the taste of soil in childhood,” says Joan Roca, “whether they fell on the ground while playing, or put their fingers in their mouths after playing in a park. Sometimes the connection comes with the memory of wet soil after rain.” To evoke this nostalgia he set about distilling soil in a Rotaval at a low temperature (around 50ºC) to extract aromas in a clear liquid. The dish, Oyster and distilled oil, is also a reflection of local gastronomic tradition, Roca says, by mixing land and sea: a kind of surf ’n’ turf, done like never before. “To eat soil without the feel of soil, but with the emotional shock of a familiar aroma with a fluid and clear appearance was astonishing,” reflects Roca now.


Joan Roca describes this 2010 dish, which, like the restaurant, had wine at its heart, as being a convergence of the brothers’ three way creative process. “By 2010 we had developed ‘perfume cooking’ with wine, both in the kitchen, through cooking from the volatile elements of wine, and in the dining room, by cooking in front of the diner,” he says. For the dish, incandescent rocks were placed at the bottom of a porcelain bowl over which Amontillado sherry was poured. The steam of the wine cooked the oyster, or sometimes langoustine, with the aromas penetrating the flesh, while the guest enjoyed the scent of the sherry steam, “a comforting and very special scent with nuances of orange peel, toasted hazelnuts, caramel, and raisins,” says Roca. While this element of the dish represented Joan’s cuisine, another element, an oyster velouté, “paid tribute to Josep's liquid universe,” while a third, Jordi’s Amontillado reduction caramel served on a small spoon, “completed the symbolism of the creative triangle.”

MANDALA (2013)

Joan Roca describes El Somni, he and his brothers’ 2013 gastro-opera in 12-courses, as “the most thrilling creative challenge we ever dreamt about.” They engaged 50 artists and cultural figures from different disciplines for the project, including scientist Harold McGee and painter Miquel Barceló, in order “to take sensoriality to its limits. This ‘Mandala’ of flowers is a dish inspired by Hindu opera director Zubin Mehta and represents “a flavour combination built up in harmony, so as to connect and go on weaving different textures, flavours, and aromas in a universal pattern that reminds us of the force and beauty of humanity in harmony and connection,” according to Roca.

Friday, July 27, 2018

5 Tools No Kitchen Should Be Without


Find out which tools every 'home chef' should have, in order to make good quality food and make the difference between a gastronomic success and failure.
5 Tools No Kitchen Should Be Without

Food just tastes better at restaurants than when we make it at home. Not always, of course. Restaurants can’t offer the multisensory, Proustian vibes of associating a particular dish with a warm and fuzzy memory that can make an otherwise undistinguished, homey dish feel like the best thing on earth. No, I’m talking about the high-end restaurants, the sort the cookbook of which you’ll buy because it’s fun to browse through, but you’re unlikely to actually try to make a dish. And if you do, despite diligent efforts and a reasonably-intelligible recipe, it just doesn’t taste the same. Ever wondered why?

I had the good fortune to spend some time with Janez Bratovž, chef of the JB restaurant in Ljubljana, to help him with his next cookbook, and so the question of how to “translate” his masterful dishes, which frequently feature foams and powders and glazes and the sort of elements that I, as an amateur, untrained and often lazy home cook, imagine I couldn’t possibly make, into recipes. Turns out there’s an inherent problem to overcome. As the chef explained to me, the main difference between his dishes made at the restaurant, and the same dish when even he makes it at home, is in the equipment.

There are professional kitchen tools that make the preparation process faster, easier, less labour-intensive, and with a more consistent outcome. “There are five tools that you’ll find in any serious, high-end kitchen,” he told me. Here they are.


A kitchen robot that weighs, chops, blends, stirs, sautés, and steams, all in one metal jug. Digitized, it walks you through pre-programmed recipes (or your own), and can be programmed to automatically finish your dishes. It’s brilliant, for instance, for risotto, which requires constant stirring. Instead of hovering over the pan for twenty minutes, stirring slowly and regularly, the machine does it for you. While the sales pitch for home users is that you can make entire meals in one container (and I did love the minimal cleanup), in practice proper chefs will use it for more specific projects.

This tool is indispensable for making sauces and soups, saving a great deal of time and, most importantly, the hands-on attention of his staff. While there is one established name-brand for kitchen robots, it is prohibitively expensive for most home cooks, though some cheap rivals are newly on the market.


Of all the dishes for which the restaurant, or store-bought version, seems to inevitably taste and look better than what we make at home, perhaps ice cream is the most obvious culprit. When ice cream or sorbet is first made at home, and eaten straight away, it can be lovely. But make a bit extra and pop it in the freezer for later, and the end result is often disappointing.

A freezer blender is essentially a super-powered blender that purees frozen ingredients without heating them up, with surgical precision. Frozen ingredients are essentially shaved at high speed, 2000 rpm, in the case of the original freezer blender, in a process they have patented, but which other companies imitate with similar results. This is done in a sealed container pressurized at 1.2 bar. It takes just 20 seconds to produce a single portion of, say, gelato, and the texture will be precise and literally inimitable at home.


A machine to vacuum seal plastic bags is put to numerous functions in a busy restaurant kitchen. The most obvious is preserving foods—vacuum-packed organics, cut off from oxygen, will last far longer than their bagged or plastic-wrapped, vacuum-less equivalents. For that reason, alone, it is a key attribute.

Serious kitchens are seriously into sous-vide, a technique of cooking vacuum-sealed proteins in water heated to a consistent temperature (like a steak cooked at 80 degrees for four hours, before being de-bagged and quickly seared on each side, to serve). Thus, a vacuum machine is used for both cooking and keeping fresh.


For any restaurant that offers its own pasta or bread, a machine to roll the dough is a no-brainer. Home chefs who have toyed with making their own pasta will know that, while pleasurable and craftsman-like, the process is fiddly. Bread, likewise, must be kneaded and rolled, which is fine on a warm Sunday morning, with little else to do. But in a hectic professional kitchen, absorbing so much of the attention of the staff is not a feasible approach. A machine for working dough is an indispensable boon.


Many of the most enlightening conversations with JB involved his simple explanations of how chemistry affects food. Take, for example, how freezing and defrosting can result in textural problems with foods. If you freeze a protein, like fish, conventionally, then the freezing process is slow. The fish began at room temperature, and slowly cools to the temperature of the freezer.

Organic matter largely consists of water, which crystallizes during the freezing process. Freezing slowly results in large crystals, which can damage the organic matter, causing the frequent problem of defrosted foods—that their texture is different and less pleasurable than their never-frozen equivalents. To avoid this, food professionals prefer “blast” or “shock” freezers.

These very quickly drop the temperature, so quickly that the water in the organic material transforms into much smaller crystals, which are less likely to result in an altered texture when the food is eventually defrosted to cook. Blast-frozen foods, once cold, can then be transferred to a conventional freezer—it’s the speed of the freezing process that’s key. JB has a secret technique, learned from a Japanese fish specialist, of breaking down and preserving whole fresh fish and blast-freezing it, such that no one, not even fellow chefs, can tell that the resulting dishes contain fish that ever saw a freezer.



If you are a vegetable lover you probably have kale and Swiss chard on a regular rotation. How about adding another leafy green to your repertoire? We suggest bok choy. This beloved Asian vegetable is versatile and will add nice texture and flavor to countless dishes. Not to mention, it is a nutritional powerhouse.

Interested in learning more about bok choy? Join Fine Dining Lovers as we discover some fun facts and different ways to prepare this green superfood.


Bok choy, also called pak choy or pak choi is a variety of Chinese cabbage. It has white stems and large dark green leaves. Bok choy possesses a mild flavor and is available year round.


Bok choy is loaded with vitamin C and vitamin A. It is rich in potassium, magnesium, and iron, making this Asian vegetable a wonderful way to boost your immunity.

One cup of bok choy contains virtually no fat and just 9 calories.


Trim off the stem and cut it in half lengthwise. Run the vegetable under cold running water to remove any debris.


While bok choy can be consumed raw it is most commonly enjoyed sautéed or in soups. Below we share inspiring recipes that will help you make the most of this nutritious Asian vegetable.


Whip up a batch of this ginger noodle soup with bok choy anytime you are feeling under the weather. It is a tasty and restorative soup that will have you feeling better in no time.


Alternatively, you can try this recipe for poached chicken with bok choy in a ginger broth. It is an exquisite soup that will keep you warm when the temperature drops.


This vegan recipe for bok choy stir fry can easily be tailored for meat eaters. The main difference will be that the meat must be sautéed first, then set aside while you stir fry the bok choy. Once the bok choy is tender you can mix everything together.


Eugenie's Kitchen shares a simple but incredibly tasty recipe for bok choy sautéed with toasted sesame seed, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. It's a recipe anyone can prepare at home.


If you like things with a little heat you'll enjoy this recipe from PopSugar. The bok choy is coated in a Sriracha-oyster sauce and finished with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.


You can have a plate of grilled baby bok choy ready in just minutes when you follow this recipe from Youtuber Michelle Price. She uses a sweet and salty marinade that really brings out the flavor of the vegetable.


Here is an easy side dish flavored with fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Roasting the bok choy helps caramelize its flavor and the results are spectacular.

The Social Power of Gastronomy


Some of the biggest names in food, journalism, design and more took to the stage at the Transforming Society Through Gastronomy symposium in Modena on 24 July.
The Social Power of Gastronomy

Chefs, journalists, media, foodies and fans from around the world flocked to Coleggio San Carlo in Modena this week for a day dedicated to Social Gastronomy, the first such symposium hosted by the Basque Culinary Centre and chef Massimo Bottura and in partnership with Acqua Panna and S.Pellegrino.

Sat beneath the ornate ceiling of the 18th century theatre, ideas on the strength of culture, the influence of art and ways of creating connections between people through gastronomy were shared, as an international panel of experts took to the stage to give their take on the power of gastronomy ahead of the Basque Culinary World Prize Winner announcement.

The eclectic selection of speakers explored the impact of food through the lens of their speciality, whether cooking it, writing about it, filming it or designing spaces in which to eat it. Amongst the line up were JR, the French photographer, London-based designer Ilse Crawford, Daniele De Michele, the Italian DJ and food activist, the British food writer and historian Bee Wilson, as well as Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio, US food writer Ruth Reichl, David Gelb, the US film maker, two-Michelin-star Basque chef, Andoni Luis Aduriz and Lara Gilmore from the Bottura partnership. Each took their turn to put their spin on how food affects their creative space.

Here's a closer look at the themes that emerged from the day's inspiring events.


Massimo Bottura, from the World's Best Restaurant Osteria Francescana and founder of the Refettori project kicked off proceedings, with characteristic presence as he welcomed the room to his hometown.

Using the powerful imagery of Ai Weiwei dropping a 2000-year-old, one million dollar vase to illustrate the point, Bottura posed the question - "Is it the end or the beginning?" before drawing on the importance of culture: "Culture is our weapon not to deny the past but to try to renew it." A chef's job, he said, is "putting pieces of the puzzle together and re-connecting ideas."

Using the example of the refettori in London, Paris, Rio and Milan as the perfect embodiment of "hospitality as an international language," he went on to say, “We made people feel comfortable – a kind of hug to make them feel welcome.” However, rather than the project as charity work, Bottura was clear that this was a cultural project, "not just to feed the needy but to feed the world with beauty."

Left to right: Lara Gilmore and Massimo Bottura


Ilse Crawford and her London design studio were the team tasked with designing the interior of the Refettorio Felix project to feed the needy in London, to one simple brief: “Make it beautiful.” As Gilmore pointed out, "there's no reason a soup kitchen shouldn't look like a beautiful restaurant."

Drawing on the team's skill of re-connecting humans with spaces, Crawford explained how they were able to fulfill the challenge by drawing on humanity and creativity to make things better for them, “first of all to bring people together around a table ... to build a community and restore dignity to people."


Enigmatic French artist and self-professed urban activist, JR, also presented his creative mission: turning the streets into the largest art gallery in the world with the intention of changing perceptions. “If chefs can do it in the kitchens, artists can do it with images,” he exclaimed.

Touching on some of his most impactful projects JR spoke about an image he had installed on US and Mexico border designed to provoke questions about immigration. An image of a 65-foot-high card board cut out baby, smiling, clinging precariously to the barrier dividing the two countries and peering over the top, "what can a new born baby think about the wall at the border?" asked JR, "certainly not what we all think of." In an ironic side take the artist also showed a photo of himself exchanging food and tea with a policemen, through the gaps in the divide, once again reminding the audience of the symbolism of sharing food.


The transformative power of food was given scientific grounding by British author and academic, Bee Wilson, as she highlighted the significance of the simple act of taking a single bite.

From how the alignment of our teeth has evolved to our food preferences, it all begins with the simple act of taking a bite size mouthful she explained ... bites have consequences. "Through the bite we can activate social change," she said, whether it's learning new tastes, changing how we feel about putting different foods in our mouths or chefs shaping desire for what we want to put into them.


“If gastronomy is an engine for change nobody did it better than Jonathan,” said the acclaimed US writer Ruth Reichl of her friend and colleague, the late Jonathan Gold, as she gave a heartfelt speech in memory of the LA food critic. "Changing the world through gastronomy," continued Reichl "John would have loved the theme of this meeting because he has done exactly that for a lifetime: putting food on the world map. He turned Los Angeles from confused to a gluttonous city. Food truck, gourmet restaurants, holes in the wall: for him they were all the same, all worthy of exploration. He believed in each of them and in the symbolic strength of what they did ... he understood better than anyone that soft words break through our world much more than any other." And, after all, she reminded the audience, “sometimes it’s the smallest stories that are actually the biggest of all.”

The US film director behind Chef's Table, David Gelb, also spoke of his inspiration, "I travel a lot, I eat incredible specialties, I meet fantastic people: I'm very lucky. My mother, a cook, has handed me the beauty of my job." Describing his award-winning documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi he said: "It was supposed to be a feature film about sushi, but then it became the story of the relationship between a father and a son." As a result, he realised, “we’re not making a film about food or how to cook – we’re showing why they cook and we’re making films about people.” Hence, his films are powerful stories about people overcoming challenges.


"We always say that 'we are what we eat', but I say we are how we eat," said Andoni Luis Aduriz, the enthusiastic chef from Mugaritz in the Basque country. Giving a historical account through the ages, he demonstrated how every change in human society has almost immediately been reflected in the kitchen. Bringing us up to the present day, Andoni drew the room's attention back to social networks, illustrating how Instagram is helping to define who we are, based on how we eat. "If we want to achieve results we must use these platforms to reach people and talk to them about what organisations like the Basque Culinary World Prize are doing for gastronomy," he said.

Daniele De Michele, the Italian dj and food activist, otherwise known as Don Pasta, gave an impassioned speech on traditional Italian cuisine using an analogy of Parmigiana, a recipe that is symbolic in "understanding who we are through what we eat."


Chef and winner of Latin America's Lifetime Achievement Award 2018, Gaston Acurio from Lima’s Astrid y Gaston explained how gastronomy has transformed Peru, while highlighting the responsibility of chefs in building a better world. “We live in a world of anxiety. The kitchen is a wonderful opportunity to get the best out of us,” he said. However, he warned, "there are still many problems that we have to face as cooks and as activists." The first thing to never forget "is that the greatest ingredients of our food cultures are the result of the journey and of the intermingling of cultures."

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