Last week I attended Madrid Fusion 2017, one of the leading gastronomy shows in the world, where internationally acclaimed chefs make presentations and discuss the future of food. The event featured gourmet foods and beverage products, ingredients, technologies, creative tableware and food service solutions.
Each year Madrid Fusion grows in relevance and attendance, and this year’s fifteenth edition was the largest with over 117 national and international speakers, 630 accredited national and international journalists, 167 exhibitors and over 12,000 accredited attendees. Chefs, influencers and journalists touched on different trends affecting and influencing today’s top gastronomy within this year’s theme: The Shared World of Haute Cuisine. Future Paths.
Like other events of this stature, the amount of information shared is overwhelming. The following list of people and products most impressed me.
Dabiz Muñoz Chef Dabiz Muñoz is one of the most polarizing chefs in the world. He has a legion of fans that adore him, and then there are those that are still trying to figure him out. In a recent interview, the chef with his mohawk and wooden spike earrings, described his food as “brutal,” a “gunshot to your head,” and “like porn.” However, in my opinion, his Michelin 3-star restaurant DiverXO in Madrid, can silence some of his fiercest critics. Year after year, his lecture still is one of the most popular attractions. During his lecture, relevant to present events, Chef Dabiz Muñoz reminds his audience that “To judge someone for his looks is something Jurassic.”
Roca Brothers For the past six years, their Michelin 3-star restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca, has been voted twice as the best, and four times as the second best restaurant in the world. No other restaurant since the beloved El Bulli’s reign had better accolades. The Roca brothers believe that their focus on human relations is still the key to cooking in the future. They are thankful for all the fame, but they make it very clear that their team is their priority. Something that stuck with me from their lecture was: “After investing in creativity and technology, now is the time to think about people and the values.” “We work and we have fun doing what we like to do, and we will not miss the media recognition when we do not have it anymore.” And I thought this quote from Josep Roca was great: “How much does a $2 burger cost our planet? “Perhaps $200.”
During Madrid Fusion, I also had the opportunity to walk around the exhibition floor and meet some of the folks behind the products. With so much to see, I focused my attention on three main areas: sustainable products, protected designation of origin products and food service innovations.
Sustainable Products From the sustainability corner, I enjoyed speaking to Jan Skybak, founder and CEO of Gamba Natural, a sustainable, antibiotics and chemical free, fresh (never frozen) shrimp farm in the middle of Spain! FYI- Shrimps are usually found in the oceans. Jan and his team have done a remarkable job at teaching the trades and consumers about responsible farming, and today they have major distribution across Spain, and they are already expanding into Europe. And according to him, the U.S. could be next. Tasting is believing, so to prove their point, they were sampling shrimp sashimi to show the freshness and rich flavor of their shrimps without any spices or ingredients. Impressive!
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Also popular among attendees, PDO products have become a symbol of high quality culinary products around the globe. Almost half of the products at the event had some PDO seal – from olive oils, to cheeses, to beverages. I was happy to run into my friends at Sidra de Asturias PDO who were showcasing the uniqueness of the apple cider from the Northern region of Spain. I spoke to Daniel Ruiz, the director of Asturias PDO, and he mentioned that by popular demand, more cider houses are producing under the PDO label. These ciders have to be made from native apple varieties only available in Asturias. Daniel anticipates that within the next four years they should be able to double their production. Watching the unique pouring technique of Asturias’ natural cider was one of the more captivating displays among the attendees.
Food Service Innovations Finally, in the food service front, I was quite impressed with the Sosa Ingredients booth. They had incredibly colorful and interesting ingredients across the entire culinary spectrum. From hundreds of different flours, extract powders, and texturizers to concentrated paste, freeze-dried products and natural colorings. Their team’s knowledge and passion about their products was a highlight. To the delight of the public, they conducted cool product demonstrations featuring guest chefs and other industry influencers.
So if you happen to be in Madrid the third week of January 2018, I highly recommend that you visit this gastronomic feast.