Saturday, January 28

Welcome to the great festival of gastronomy

Authorities, organizers and sponsors pose during the official opening ceremony of San Sebastian Gastronomika. / ARIZMENDI

San Sebastian Gastronomika

This Monday the great congress of the sector has started in the Kursaal, which brings together in San Sebastián the best of the world scene in an edition that promises strong emotions

San Sebastian Gastronomika is already underway. The XXIV edition was officially inaugurated this Monday at the Kursaal, where from today until Wednesday the best chefs in the world, including local ones, will parade in a year in which the honored country is the United Kingdom.

At one in the afternoon the official aurresku took place outside the Kursaal, which was attended, among others, by the deputy general, Markel Olano; the mayor of San Sebastian, Eneko Goia; the general director of El Diario Vasco, Iñigo Barrenechea; the General Director of New Businesses, Iñigo Iribarnegaray; the general director of Vocento Gastronomia, Benjamín Lana, and the director of San Sebastian Gastronomika, Roser Torras.

Subsequently, the gala has moved inside the Kursaal. There, on the stage of the Auditorium, our colleague Mitxel Ezquiaga has conducted the event, which he has counted on the declarations of Roser Torras and Benjamín Lana. Torras has attacked that this year’s edition is that of the “consolidation of normality. We recover the signs of identity such as live tastings. And we have more Basque chefs than ever.”

Thanks to the institutions

Lana, for her part, who is grateful for the support that the fair receives from all the institutions, has highlighted that San Sebastian Gastronomika is the congress that maintains its usual philosophy: “Maintain knowledge and share it instead of competing. We claim as the culinary anti-Brexit.

Finally, for the family photo, the members of the technical committee, made up of prestigious restaurateurs from Euskadi, paraded around the stage: Andoni Luis Aduriz, Elena Arzak, Pedro Mari Subijana, Martín Berasategui, Eneko Atxa and Josean Alija. All of them have highlighted the virtues of this congress and have asked visitors to learn and enjoy, eat and drink. In short, have a great time.

And it is that between now and Wednesday the best local and international chefs will pass through San Sebastián with the desire to please the public, always faithful and affectionate, which fills the auditorium and also the different stands (there are up to 78 spread over several floors) where the most prestigious food or tableware brands come with their best products.

You already know that this year the guest country is the United Kingdom. Hence the wink in the name of this edition: United Kulinary. Because the dean of congresses intends to unite cultures above politics. Thus, the culinary panorama of the British country will be shown, a place that, beyond what happens in its capital, is a great unknown. Isaac McHale, The Clove Club** (London); Simon Rogan, L’Enclume*** (Cartmel); Roberta Hall-McCarron, The Little Chatroom (Edinburgh) and Daniel Clifford, MidSummer House** (Cambridge), four of the UK’s great chefs, will share the stage at the Kursaal with some of the best chefs in the world, such as the Peruvian Gastón Acurio or the American Thomas Keller, who will receive the Tribute Award of this edition. The official opening will start at 1.30pm and will be led by several of our best chefs together with a bunch of British chefs. All together on stage will toast a new edition of San Sebastian Gastronomika.

If you go to the Kursaal auditorium, the best restaurateurs will be there offering talks that fill the stands. In addition, this year live tastings return after two years of difficulties due to the pandemic. In 2022 the public will be able to taste the creations made live, at the moment. Elena Arzak will offer a talk at 11.45 on the ‘Transformation of Arzak through her letters’; Eneko Atxa will speak about ‘Mundo Eneko’, and José Polo (Atrio, Cáceres) will receive the Gueridón de Oro as best sommelier.

Contests, tastings, presentations…

But in San Sebastian Gastronomika there is more. Much more. Today, Monday, another prestigious award will be granted, the ‘Ruinart Sommelier Challenge’, which celebrates its seventh edition with the aim of continuing to encourage knowledge among the sommeliers community. Also today is the appointment of the III National Chickpea Contest’, in which six contestants from all over the country will present their elaborations in a tasting contest.

Don’t forget the tastings that the stands of Mallorca, Burgos, Cádiz or Murcia will organize this Monday, which will delight those present with their best products. Meanwhile, for wine lovers, Chivite, Torres or Tenerife will hold three top-level tastings. Between tomorrow and the day after, other essential events of the congress will take place, such as the national Russian salad championship, the apple pie championship, the oil chef contest, the Tenerife tropical fruit contest or the national grill contest. In short, Donostia will live three very special days between stoves. Welcome to the great festival of gastronomy. Welcome to San Sebastian Gastronomika.

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