Just spent a rather life-altering, world-changing three days with some of the world's greatest chefs and plant scientists in Copenhagen.
I was compering/hosting (not sure of the term, actually, I've never been to a symposium before), the MAD FoodCamp Symposium and introducing guests including Harold McGee, Adoni Aduriz, and Gaston Acurio on stage. Then there were the likes of Michel Bras, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken and David Chang and science authorities such as Stefano Mancuso (a 'neuro-biologist' who explained exactly how plants were sentient). Amazing.
Not sure where to start, so I'll begin with Friday where all the speakers and some of the Noma team were all taken by boat from our hotel, the Admiral on Copenhagen harbour, across the water to the festival and symposium site, where Noma's René Redzepi – whose idea the whole shebang was – showed us around (back of heads: Yoshihiro Narisawa and David Chang).
Mr McGee checked out the state-of-the-art induction wok in the circus tent where the symposium was to be held. He approved.
In the afternoon we gathered beneath blazing sunshine on the outskirts of Christiania to cook a meal. We were divided into groups, each one led by one of the star chefs.
René asked, 'Who wants to prepare vegetables with Michel Bras?' Bras is a legend, famed for his use and appreciation of vegetables – one of the great heroes of contemporary French cuisine, and with three Michelin stars.
'Me!' I said.
He was a hard task master. Had me slicing fennel on a mandolin all afternoon, and told me off for chopping vegetables without enough care. Fair enough. Then Adoni Aduriz joined us, and took over – I looked up from my mangled veg to see five Michelin stars around me. A memorable moment. And it was especially worth it when, after about four hours of prep, he suddenly whipped all the various ingredients together into the most beautiful dishes (at the bottom, grilled baby leeks with pickled rose leafs and radish).
Needless to say, Chang was in charge of the pork.
Magnus Nilsson of Faviken grilled a couple of oysters with Alex Atala of Sao Paulo's restaurant DOM (he's widely considered the best chef in the whole of South America and forages in the Amazon).
And this was the gorgeous crayfish dish prepared by Tokyo terroir master, Yoshihiro Narisawa.
And a jolly good time was had by all, I think.
So, then came the weekend during which time I was too preoccupied jumping up and down to the stage introducing folk to take many pictures.
I took this one just before the audience arrived, as a distraction technique from my butterfly-infested stomach. Note the complete and utter absence of any major corporate sponsorship – intentional.
And this one of the produce Monsieur Bras used in his demo:
And this was taken by my more quick witted wife of all the speakers at the end of the weekend:
I'll try and recap some of the highlights of the talks – and there were so very many – soon.