It has been a long time since gastronomy began to praise the product, look towards the territory and align itself with the environment. But the pandemic has forced us to go further: the kitchen, in all its breadth, must be an active part of the change towards a balance between consumption and enjoyment, the environment and those who inhabit it. “In the world that arrives and has to arrive, a chef cannot be understood without its producers, without defending seasonal products and proximity, without respect for the environment or maximum use of discards and waste,” says Benjamín Lana, vice president of Madrid Fusion. The gastronomic congress, which is held in the capital from this Monday until next Wednesday, June 2 and can follow on the internet, dedicates its first post-covid edition to circular gastronomy. A new paradigm that seeks conscientious diners.
The relationship with the local environment and the cuisine of the territory has been the common thread of many menus and menus such as those of For sale Moncalvillo (ventamoncalvillo.com), in La Rioja, whose chef, Ignacio Echapresto, will participate in the congress, and Ca Na Toneta, nestled in a small town in the Majorcan mountains, where the sisters María and Teresa Solivellas claim the landscape and the native pantry. “The pandemic has led us all to live on our own island,” reflects María, who will speak in her presentation about insularity and how she sees in those territorial limits an “opportunity for creativity and to become aware of the space that surrounds and the duty to take care of it ”. In this work of introspection in her land, the chef – formerly a producer of shows – reinvents traditional Mallorcan recipes such as coca and recovers almost disappeared varieties such as curtain cap pepper, pepper with which the paprika is made to preserve the sobrasada.
In addition to forcing us to look towards our immediate surroundings, the crisis caused by the coronavirus has reinforced the role of gastronomy as a tool for social change. World Central Kitchen It is the most recognized movement on a global scale —and as such it will be present in this edition through its founder, Javier García—, but there are more and more initiatives that assume this commitment on a smaller scale, although in an equally relevant way. It is the case of Movement Mo (modemovimiento.com), one of the successful openings of 2020 in Madrid, and which was created to try to “transform the relationship with cities and offer alternatives for responsible consumption”. This is how Felipe Turell, one of the partners, explains the objective of a business that is committed to sustainability – in its first year they have reused 95,000 liters of water – by small producers and by the labor integration of people at risk of social exclusion such as unaccompanied minors. “We want it to be a platform to change people’s lives,” adds Turell. The establishment offers training for these workers for nine months, with a decent employment contract, and once that period is over they accompany them until they find a new job.
The rise of the vegetable
Driven by the search for a balanced and environmentally friendly diet, vegetable cuisine has been a trend for years. Just a few weeks ago, the New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park, with three Michelin stars, announced its reopening this June with a proposal free of ingredients of animal origin And, last December, the French guide awarded the first star to ONA, an exclusively vegan establishment in Arès (France). “There is more and more awareness about crops, the treatment of animals. Eating habits change and you have to try to reach everyone. We are exclusive, but not exclusive ”, points out Xavier Pellicer, who offers healthy preparations with vegetable products as protagonists in his homonymous restaurant in Barcelona, a city that this 2021 holds the title of world capital for sustainable food. “I don’t see it as a fad. I do it out of conviction ”, he adds. Pellicer adjusts cooks, seeks cleanliness and purity, and uses a maximum of three ingredients per plate, with the goal of easy digestion. “Excessively long menus cannot be healthy,” he says. Along the same lines, chef Rodrigo de la Calle, who has defended the potential of vegetable products for years in his restaurant El Invernadero (one Michelin star), will also intervene in Madrid Fusión.
What are the best reds to alternate with hamburger bites? Do pizza and natural wine get along? The integration of the world of wine and gastronomy will be the common thread of the first edition of MF The Wine Edition, a congress dedicated exclusively to a sector that only in Spain has a turnover of more than 5,000 million euros a year. The event, which will be held coinciding with Madrid Fusión in person and online, will feature the participation of big names such as Peter Sisseck, creator of the Dominio de Pingus winery; Josep Roca, sommelier at El Celler de Can Roca, and the Master of Wine Almudena Alberca.
Throughout the three days of the congress, more than 100 speakers will participate in the meeting, including chefs Mauro Colagreco – whose Mirazur restaurant, in the French town of Menton, still holds the title of the best in the world, according to The World’s 50 Best – and Josh Niland. The Australian cook is known as the fish butcher for his quest to get the most out of this product. His determination to achieve minimum waste, essential on the road to sustainability, has led him to create dishes using parts such as eyes and thorns.
For the second time (the first was in the 2020 edition), Madrid Fusión will be held simultaneously with Madrid International Pastry, the international congress dedicated to pastry, bakery and chocolate. This edition will be attended mainly by national pastry chefs and bakers – and a few female names – such as Jordi Roca (Casa Cacao, Rocambolesc and El Celler de Can Roca), Jordi Butrón and Ricard Martínez (Espaisucre), Alberto Miragoli (One Hundred and Thirty Degrees) and Anna Bellsolà (Baluard).
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.