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Adam Chef

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  1. Hi Baron, At last we have finally agreed on something!!!!! Funny thing is I have just been in Italy (Venice, Padova and Trieste) for the past few days and visited a supplier in Trieste who had a warehouse full of additives from Sosa. He can't sell any of them anymore :-( I also spent the last 3 days eating their "Traditional food" and let's just say improvement wouldn't be a bad thing in many of the places. Regards from Croatia,
  2. If it wasn't true it would be a funny story to tell your friends.............. But unfortunately it's true and ignorance seems to be spreading as we saw similar comments made by Santi Santamaria here in Spain 2 years ago when he said Ferran was poisoning people with his food. Back then it was proven to be a publicity stunt to sell more copies of his book he launched days later and I am sure this one will also be revealed for the joke that it is with absolutely no basis of truth. Let's hope that "Uncommon sense" becomes "Common Sense" Again, as the use of these ingredients have been approved by the EU and every other food agency around the world. Chances are that they are safe to use!
  3. On the 25th of February the site “Guia de la Buena Mesa” were the first to write about the absurd situation in Italy with the signing of new legislation banning the use of Food additives in the kitchen, this is also going to extend to the use of Liquid Nitrogen as it is a “gaseous substances” and considered dangerous even though 78% of earths atmosphere is actually Nitrogen in it’s gas form! The title of the article says more than 1000 of my words “The Italian Taliban”! The article is as below: http://www.guiadelabuenamesa.es/?p=1359&language=es As you know I am normally pretty opinionated about most things, especially when it comes to ignorance towards food. So after 1 month of biting my tongue and listening to all the facts I am now ready to give my 2 cents worth………………………….. It all started in the youtube link below, this is when Italian Ministry of Health’s secretary Francesca Martini signed the new legislation banning the use of pretty much all food additives in professional kitchens. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cy6HeX0ZIA&feature=player_embedded This less than qualified new Health minister in Berlusconis party does not have the qualification nor the intellect to deem the use of additives as dangerous, she should stick to commenting about things she does know about like this article (http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/italian-tv-chef-roasted-for-praising-joy-of-eating-cats_100321564.html) Condemning the eating of cats by a famous TV Chef! Ok, so now to the serious part of this story……….. Let’s have a look at the legitimacy of their claims. What makes Agar Agar any more or less of a “Powdered” food additive than the flour the Italians have been using for generations to make pasta? You can also make a pasta from the Agar Agar. The Flour is taken from the milling of wheat and the Agar Agar is extracted from the red Seaweed Gelidium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelidium), but the law still suggests you can eat the red seaweed in it’s natural state so it is not a problem with the product but merely the final result. What about if we look at Pectin Powder v’s Gelatine leaves? By the true definition of this new law you cannot use pectin which comes from the cell walls of certain fruits (Citrus being the primary source) but you can use Gelatin which is being taken from the hoofs and cartilage of Animals! Which one sounds hypothetically more natural and “Safe”? In actual fact they are both 100% safe and have been used for a very long time yet one is banned under this new law and the other isn’t. I can give you thousands of examples of why this does not make sense, but I won’t as I am sure you are all smart enough to smell an ulterior motive on the behalf of the Italian government. But before we get to this let’s discuss the biggest hole in their story! This rule only applies to restaurants and not the Production industry! If this was for health reasons how is this possible? Imagine that the same Sodium Alginate and Calcium that you are not allowed to use in Kitchens you are allowed to consume when eating your Burger king Onion rings or your McDonalds Apple pie (which also are not very Italian restaurants, perhaps all non Italian restaurants will be banned next?)! Would this have anything to do with the power of the Production industry and the amount of revenue they bring in from Taxes as opposed to that of restaurants? Think about the level of stupidity it takes to think that any Nitrogen gas remains in food once it’s been frozen, considering liquid Nitrogen (-190 +/- degrees Celsius depending on your altitude) boils at room temperature and changes back to a gas. Then add the fact that we are already breathing 78% Nitrogen all day long……………. It doesn’t make sense! So I guess we can rule this one out as ridiculous! This government stinks of desperation in an attempt to keep the Italian cuisine traditional at the expense of progression. There will always be those Chefs who will continue to cook traditional food as this is where their roots are, but there also has to be those pushing the boundaries and creating the next generation of what will one day be traditional or else food will be stuck in a virtual time warp. Whats next? Are we going to start burning Creative Chefs at the steak like the treatment of witches in distant times? How can this backward government think the people are that stupid? Why is it not possible for traditional Italian Cuisine and New Cuisine to co-exist harmoniously? Take my friend Carlo Cracco as a great example. Carlo has a cuisine which is deeply rooted in tradition yet he utilizes all the tools at his disposal with the introduction of new techniques into his cuisine. Is not the role and responsibility of every Chef to use every tool, technique and ingredient at his disposal to help interpret his vision of food? So if we remove one part of this how can we be free to express? From the reports I am being told by my friends in Italy, the police are entering kitchens and seizing any powdered products and giving the owners nasty fines. This is a very desperate and pathetic attempt to retain control (Communist style) of what is known as an iconic cuisine of the world. Hopefully the Italian Government will realize the error of their ways before it’s too late or else the world of cuisine will leave your country back in the dark ages at the expense of your great Chefs and the enjoyment of the consumer.
  4. Dear Lesliec, Well said (And in true kiwi style, makes me miss home (Australia)). :-)
  5. I think the comment about being politician like in my response sounded a little like a Compliment in disguise Baron, could it be that you are showing your soft side? No, false alarm, it is just your same dry humor coming through. Your point about it not being possible to serve perfection nearly all of the time is still incorrect according to the way I set my dishes. Yes I work in a Lab creating and perfecting all day long (but I do also serve media and other people every week who taste what's new) but remember Up until 2 years ago I was in my restaurants all over the world and I still managed to achieve the same level of perfection due to the precision of the recipes. The chaotic crazy kitchens of before are becoming less and less as with the adoption of some of these new theories Chefs are realizing it doesn't have to be like that, in Chaos things get missed and done differently then they were intended. Now we are able to run the meal of a guest like a Swiss watch, with everyone knowing their function and how to do it on exact timing. Yes it may cost a little more in the development, but this will be made back in the saving you will make from having a consistent product that is cooked or prepared right EVERY TIME. This way the 30 guests will never be Jeopardized and the Chef can keep his focus on the whole room. Remember the computer you are using right now was once dismissed as an unneeded luxury by those loyal to the typewriter, now we could not live without it. Nostalgia is a great thing to reflect upon but isn't a practicle tool for the kitchens of 2010. Always a pleasure,
  6. Thanks Mallet, I am currently in Croatia, This trip I have the aim to make contact with some local government officials to offer some free advice on the situation and see if we can start this project together. I will be sure to keep you up to date on my progress (or lack there of). Kind Regards from Croatia
  7. Dear Martin, Thanks for your comments, I agree with it in Principle.................. As much as baby fish are considered Less valuable, what about the eventual situation where not enough of these babies were allowed to reach maturity and therefor weren't able to lay their eggs? I use Croatia as one example of many, they are just netting everything that moves and not doing any kind of a measure to put back the ones which are too young. The adults are also being taken but they are sold to a country where they get more money and keeping the young ones to be used as a stock or a soup. There are no catch or size limits in place, or at least being respected. I have started a consulting project in one of the seaside towns of Croatia where I am targeting the people and the restaurants to try and overcome this bad practice, I will be there 1 week per month. Hi LindaK, Great article! I have actually posted it on my website to try and raise a little more awareness. I am going to be opening a restaurant in NYC this year and I will certainly be using the sustainable Tuna as opposed to the Wild. Hi Florida, Sad but probably going to be true! The amount of Chefs and suppliers saying "If I don't sell it then someone else will and make more money" or "If .......... Is still selling it then why shouldn't I". Japan being the biggest consumer in the world makes other countries think "well if they are doing it then why shouldn't we?". This is a very tough mentality to break as peoples livelihoods depend on it and everyone wants to make their money before the species goes extinct. Good conversation.
  8. Hi Mikeb19, Brianemone and nickrey, Not too much else to say then.......... Agree, Agree and Totally agree, But it is always fun to discuss, I love to see and try to understand the perspective of others. Food is such a broad topic! :-)
  9. First let me respond to my friend Baron, I would love to answer your thoughts in the order which you have brought them up as I would hate to miss one! 1. The serving on fabricated caviar was only a dish when it was a new technique, now it is not new nor is it interesting to serve a spoon full of caviar. When a technique is new you cannot confuse the guest too much by complicating the plate and giving them too much to think about as you will not have the required impact, what follows the discovery of a new technique is the Chefs who will incorporate these techniques into dishes they have created and not simply displaying the fabricated Caviar and calling that their dish. 2. When common decency tells you that it is ok to use. Chefs work for a very long time to create and perfect techniques, I can tell you there have been some that have taken me as long as years to perfect and start to use, when I hear of this being used days or weeks later I get angry as I know how much effort went into it, then some other Chef will take it and claim it as their own discovery. It is not the credit myself or others want, it is merely being given the time to explore all the possibilities of that technique before another comes and beats you to it on your technique (sounds petty, but you would think the same if you were working on something for a long time and someone started claiming it as theirs). 3. This one is very hard to answer as there is not enough space............. It is a very common thing. I even know of certain Chefs who have demonstrated techniques that belong to others in conferences before the other Chef has even used it. 4. It is a slight resemblance but who may of been inspired by who is the question. If you remember I mentioned that it was when I was coaching the Bocuse d'Or team from Spain....... Bocuse d'Or finals were back in January 2009 (which given your love of classic cuisine I am sure you already knew), the sandwich in question was published on July 14 2009! I had previously published a story about this Rubiks cube back in January of 2009 but I had a major failure on my site and lost all the data in April of 2009. The date on the picture is as follows: "Friday, November 21, 2008, 4:04:38 PM". I do what I do and I do it how I do it because I can almost Guarantee with 100% certainty that it will be the same every time! When dining in a restaurant the most important thing is consistency. If you are an average Chef who cooks Average food people will have expectations of what they are going to get, if one day you decide to put in a lot more effort and produce some amazing dishes and the next day you cant be bothered and produce the same average food then you will confuse the guest. A great restaurant is only as good as it's worst dish on it's worst day, to be great on one day is easy! So I am sorry but your overcooked poached fish story would not be acceptable in my restaurant as the guest is not paying for your mistakes, nor are they paying for your nostalgia which leads to their below standards meal. Doing what we are now doing with food gives you another option to the Vending machine if you want close to perfect food every time! It is about understanding food and it's strengths and limitations, when we have perfected something there are always so many measurable limits that can be observed every time (Time in seconds, Temperature in 0.1 of a degree, Measurements in MM, weight in 0.01 of a G). What I try to remember is the guest is coming to the restaurant on the reputation of the Chef and his food, they are not interested in having an interpretation of how the line Chef thinks it should taste. I have managed kitchens of up to 36 Chefs, imagine having 36 Chefs from 11 different countries interpret your meal! Testing can be done in your day to day cooking, it is about finding a better way to do it until you believe it is perfect for what you want to do with it, then it is about competently managing the process to ensure it can be replicated every time. I do this in my home even when I am cooking dinner every night, so as you can see you don't have to have a lab but you do need a desire for perfection. Always a pleasure,
  10. Mikeb, Bravo! Very well said! And I totally agree! JK1002, You have just demonstrated perfectly in your first paragraph everything that is bad with people who take a technique they don't understand and call it a dish. Fabricated caviar was only a dish on it's own when it was a new technique which nobody knew about, today it is almost a "Normal" kitchen technique. Today it is perfectly fine to use this as a part of a balanced dish as you did in the Tartar, it is now a hidden technique used to achieve an effect. I have never had a problem with people using existing techniques as everyone cannot create new techniques for every dish in their menu, but I think it is important to acknowledge the creator instead of claiming it as one of your own. I also agree that mimic is the best form of flattery except in the case when people come to your restaurant and claim you are the one mimicking another who has taken from you. Plus there have been many famous cases here in Spain of some high profile Chefs publishing and/or demonstrating in conferences the work of other high profile Chefs. The article in NBC was not totally correct, I will still be opening in NYC but I just have been delayed. I now have an incredible location which I will officially announce very soon. Thank for your comments,
  11. Dear Mike, I agree with you regarding the impact of Aquaculture on the environment, but I believe long term it could be the sustainable answer if they clean up the industry and stop with the bad practices. Regarding the impact of farming, a great example should be taken from my friend Dan Barber who has an amazing model for how farming should be done with as little impact as possible. What he is doing should be the future of sustainable farming! Dear CDRFloppingham, I apologize if my words come across as "Preachy" but in my defense I did mention that I was going to have a Biased opinion which makes it a little hard to be totally objective. As a Chef my number 1 priority is to find the best products available, but in this day and age I must also factor in it's environmental impact as well. I love food pretty much more than life itself, so to say no to a piece of Bluefin Tuna belly is an incredibly hard thing to do, as having tasted it I know it is one of the best things I have ever tasted. But as I live in Spain and I see bluefin tuna on so many menus and it is available at pretty much every market I am starting to get a little tired of the "It's not my problem, let someone else worry about it" kind of attitude. As the Blue fin pass through Gibraltar every year to breed in the warmer waters of the Mediterranean they are being caught on there way in or out which is stopping the replenishing of the stocks. Once again, I am sorry that you got the wrong impression from what I was saying as it was not the intention. Thanks for you comments,
  12. I love this discussion, and it is very curious to see the path it has taken................ Thanks for your comments guys (even you Baron :-), this is what cooking is all about! Being able to discuss these topics openly and thus gain a little more insight through the perspective of others. Ciao
  13. Dear Daniel Blue, Thanks for your comment, I can see how you would get that impression................. The only baby fish I use come from Aquaculture farms and are bred to be eaten young. As I clearly mentioned in what I wrote I am promoting sustainability, aquaculture is at the forefront of this movement as the fish are bred in controlled conditions then transfered to their sea cages where they eat and grow as a normal fish would in the same ocean water where they come from. You will never see on any of my menus a wild baby fish. But I understand how you would think that and I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to explain. Hey Tri2Cook, Thanks for your comment, I fully agree with you that it is the responsibility of the Chefs and also the end user being the Guest who is requesting these items. I also feel for the fish supplier and also the fisherman, I have many of them as friends and I know how tough they do it. The state of the worlds oceans is a little bit like the topic of global warming, many say it is just a way to panic the people without any scientific basis, but like the global warming issue it is a bit hard to refute the fact that fishermen are finding it harder and harder to locate the same amounts of fish as before. Another thing I can't stand is the indiscriminate catching of anything living with the use of large nets as large as football fields that drain the ocean of all of it's life, these nets are catching and killing anything that is in the area without any skill on the part of the fisherman. This is why you see boxes of mixed fish all way undersized being sold as fish to make soups out of as there is such a mix. These nets are killing all sorts of other creatures which never get eaten like: Seals, Sharks, Dolphins, Whales, etc. As well as destroying coral reefs and other animals habitats. Anyway, thats enough for a Sunday! Thanks for your comments
  14. When will some people learn? This is the question I am constantly asking myself………………………….. We all know the problems we are facing in the world with some of the oceans and rivers being close to fished out, but why does it take so long to really sink in to some peoples heads? You hear about these kinds of problems everyday in the food industry but it is only the very famous problems that are being noticed and you have some Chefs who are even selling and promoting their restaurants on the fact that they don’t use these products. Being an Australian Chef and also a very enthusiastic diver I have a love for nature and a strong will to try and disturb it as little as possible, so I speak with a little bit of biased passion on this topic. I think anyone who is still selling Blue Fin Tuna on their menus is an idiot and they deserve to have their names put on a list like sex offenders. This is a greedy mentality that will see our Children suffer when they will never be able to experience the pleasures that our generation have gorged ourself on until certain species are now becoming extinct. One of the latest estimates I have heard about the blue fin is that they could be extinct in the next 5 years………………………. The governments around the world are trying to cut catch limits in most developed countries and the fishermen are protesting and crying poor. They are worried about their profits and not at all about the state of the oceans they have raped over the years. The E.U. were faced with a decision a few months ago to put a total ban on the fishing of Blue Fin tuna, unfortunately they weakened under pressure and ruled against it after increasing backlash, even though it was almost a sure thing to get passed. Anyway this story isn’t about Blue fin tuna, it is about everything else that is suffering at the same time…………….. What happens if you continue taking baby animals from the wild, be it Fish, Shellfish, Game, etc? Well it seems like a pretty easy answer, but obviously not! If the animals have not yet reached an age of maturity where they can breed then they will not reproduce before they are caught and killed. If all the babies are taken and they can’t reproduce then the species will eventually dwindle in numbers and eventually go extinct. Seems like simple maths No? Well why can we still see this all over the world? My job takes me all over the world and every time I travel I always visit local markets, predominantly in developing countries you see vendors selling produce which clearly hasn’t been regulated by size limits. I feel it is my right and obligation to ask them why are they selling these small animals so small? I almost always get the same response, “If I do not sell them someone else will and I will go out of business”. Well I guess they are right in theory, but this should be why we have governments to regulate these things. This story is coming after my last trip to Croatia where I was in many fish markets that actually resembled child care for dead fish. The monk fish in the picture above are no bigger than 15 to 20cm, and to tell you the truth would be a waste to time and effort as the meat in the tail would be only 40 or 50g. Every vendor had the same types of fish and all the same size, where are all the big fish? So now spare a thought for these live langoustines, they were no more than 5-8cm each! Every vendor had many crates of these little babies. They are taking them from a place where the fresh water coming from Krka National park meets the Adriatic sea, how many more years are they going to be able to do this before there are no more left. Not to mention the fact that langoustines this small would not provide any joy to eat as they would be so much effort to get 2 or 3g of flesh per one. But when asked “Why do you sell them so small?” I got the same response “If I don’t sell them someone else will”. I am not a member of greenpeace nor am I an animal activist. I am speaking purely on the level of a Chef, Food lover and someone who respects the balance of nature (If one species goes extinct them the rest of the food chain will suffer). Chefs, try to show a little restraint when choosing what you want to put on your menus. There are so many sustainable ingredients at our disposal, there is no need in the world to use endangered or undersized items.
  15. Thank you once again for your wise insight Baron, As much as I appreciate your approval or disapproval in any techniques I may or may not use I really do not need it. As I mentioned in my previous comment, I love traditional cuisine and as such I really like what you do as I will always respect classic technique, because at the end of the day all new cuisine is always created on the back of traditional techniques. Creating new techniques and dishes without taking into consideration what has been done before would be like a body without bones. My problem has never been people using any techniques to make their menus, but instead the use of purely new techniques that they do not understand and constructing a menu of things just for show. This is happening all over the world as I am travelling every month and it is disheartening to eat in the "Best restaurant in the city" and finding the same replicas in every place (but perhaps with the addition or subtraction of an ingredient). I want to eat in restaurants to see food through different Chef's eyes and see how they interpret their vision, if I wanted to eat dishes which they have copied from the internet or the latest cook book I would rather stay at home. Chefs who cook true classic cuisine are true craftsmen and as mentioned before I have a great deal of admiration for them. Food is very subjective, but at the end of the day what you serve to people still has to have the basic concepts and satisfaction of a meal, if we can add discovery and enjoyment to this then we will give the guest an experience to remember. * I also have a wall of cookbooks numbering in excess of 1000 (classic cookery, Nouvelle cuisine, Progressive Cuisine, Traditional Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, theoretical, production industry handbooks, Psychology, design, Chemistry, I even have the Shrek Cookbook), But I choose to use these to understand the different styles which different Chefs have so I can see the world through their eyes when I open their books. Never to inspire dishes nor copy anything.
  16. Hi Steve, Thanks for your comments, I actually 100% agree with you! The meal you described sounds fantastic! To back this up with a short story I will tell you about my favorite plate in the world.................... I am an Australian who has been living outside of Australia and without fail the meal I spend most time dreaming about while I am away is a Aged grain fed 700g T-bone steak which is served with a Caesar salad, French fries and half mushroom half green pepper sauce. All washed down with a great Australian red wine. While I am vacationing back in Australia I will often eat this 3 or 4 times during my stay. This is the type of meal you can eat everyday and not get bored or tired of it, so on your point about food tasting natural I agree. But spare a thought for the time when Yeast would of been considered a scientific revelation, that bread you are eating contains a scientific reaction so it is able to rise and it is made of flour but doesn't taste like flour in it's original state (Luckily), it now tastes like bread as it has gone through it's transformation. The category of food I am talking about in this forum is discovery dining, this is a type of food you cannot eat everyday as such is a special occasion cuisine. It is not about scented napkins and pipettes, but instead about exploring all the possibilities of ways we can prepare food to get the most out of them and to also give the guest an enjoyable journey while eating their meal. But at the end of the day if it has 3 courses it will always have a beginning a middle and an end, the only difference is there are more parts in between which allows the Chef to fully express himself though his cuisine. I respect all kinds of cuisine and I have never once said anything against traditional or more basic forms of cuisine. Here in Spain it is just the way we prepare meals, the average amount of plates you will receive in a gastronomic restaurant is about 12 courses and will go up to 42 parts, this is not through lack of restraint but in fact to tell a complete story. But once again, you are completely right about your example of a great meal, I am now going out to find a good steak restaurant for dinner! Kind Regards,
  17. Dear "Baron" I have to first of all thank you for your comments, you have done wonders to demonstrate the kinds of people who go into food with a closed mind and spend so much time looking backwards that they eventually you will turn around and find the world has left you behind. Everyday I am faced with the traditionalists who would rather not see food evolve at all, as I can see from your website you are also very traditional (Apart from the sock puppet with the fish in his mouth, very modern). I myself personally love the food you have on your website and I am a very big fan of all traditional cookery in the world, be it Chinese, French, Arabic, Spanish, Greek, etc, Etc! I love the concepts of traditional as they come with such a rich history and time balanced flavor. On the flip side I create new cuisine on a daily basis, but I like to think I am using traditional cuisine as the backbone to everything that I do. What I do not do is try to believe that what I do is the best and tell people they should all be doing as I do, when you tell me............ A well imagined menu can be offered with 5, even 3 courses, comprised of composed plates that feature a protein, vegetable, fruit, starch or legume with appropriate garnishing elements which fulfill the aforementioned balancing requirements and have themed continuity by virtue of the season, ingredient or tradition. Most get pleasure from being able to savor, explore, understand and contemplate a dish while consuming it and entertaining fellow guests as opposed to what boils down to a formal, seated cocktail party with 27 courses of a single stuffed olive or single slice of cucumber providing the vehicle for faux caviar or whatever. I find this a little entertaining as the thought of eating a meal of the same format in every restaurant is a little absurd. What ever happened to "Variety is the spice of life"? There are a lot of things which I will not bother responding to as I hope the people reading this forum are a little more open minded than yourself. But I must respond to your claim about the octopus, particularly after a statement like: "I posit from experience that there is no need to fuse octopus with Transglutaminase" I find this very amusing to say the least....................... In your vast experience you must of understood that the protein which will fuse the octopus is actually a Collagen, and of course you would also be aware that when heated Collagen will denature and melt? So how am I going to serve the octopus warmed and balancing on natural dill stalks which sway with movement? No to even mention the fact that they get dipped into a 80 degree kappa gel, which would also deform them from the first moment. So thank you for your obviously very valid comments, but I will respectfully continue preparing it the way I always have. Thank you for your comments, It was a pleasure debating with you. Dear Tri2Cook I love your thoughtful responses and insight, but the last paragraph for me sums it up perfectly and I could not agree with you more! Thank you for once again for providing an objective balance to the comments chain, Kind Regards,
  18. Dear All, Thank you for your thoughtful responses and taking the time to write them, this is a topic very close to my heart and I am happy to respond to your points. I am sorry that I have taken so long to respond, I have been away on a consulting trip in Croatia this week. Let me respond to you point by point................ Tri2Cook, Thank you for your points, we have debated before and I respect your points of view very much. I am sorry that you seem to of read it in an offensive way. To respond to your point about if me or my heroes do it then it is ok........... First these heroes are not my heroes but actually friends of mine and the reason we are friends is because there is a mutual respect due to the fact that each of us are doing conceptual food while still staying honest and never copying or stealing another Chef's work. I have an amazing amount of respect for Chefs of all types of cuisines, from traditional to Progressive and everything in between. I believe each and every Chef should cook what they are best at and what they love the most (you can taste how much the Chef loves what he is doing in his cuisine), the easiest but shortest road is that of copying. On the charge of Arrogance................ Guilty, I believe you need to be arrogant as a Chef (But only a little as I agree that too much is a very bad thing also) as you must believe in what you do 110% and not change what you do just because you get a bad comment or 2. Food is very subjective and as such you will have many people every week who do not like what you do, if you are not firm in your cuisine than you could doubt what you are doing. Once again these are just my opinions and obviously not going to be shared by everyone. I still stand by my point that food should never be a magic show and we need to always remember that it is a meal and there are certain guidelines. And on the point of bad Chefs hiding bad work in numbers, this for me is very true! How many times have you eaten an Assiette of something and felt that it was "good" but if you tried to remember 1 of the items the next day you are bound to of forgotten, this is because the more items there are on a plate the less focus there is on one in particular. This is the same with the doing things for the sake of a show, Chefs can use Liquid Nitrogen in the restaurant 3 or 4 times in the same meal and have the guest believing that they are practicing "Molecular Gastronomy". Hi Moopheus, Thanks for your comments, I agree on the most part. I would like to look at what we are doing today as understanding food and not cooking to a fashion. With the techniques Chefs are creating all over the world they can be used in any form of cuisine, and as a great example I have a fabrication and design company which I have used a few of our new techniques in a project which sells 5 million units every year. "Molecular Gastronomy" as a Discipline and as a straight cuisine I am sure will not survive too much longer as there have been too many Chefs abusing it and using it in it's most basic form to Showoff what they have learned. I think people have always wanted food with a concept and a cuisine they can relate to, my hope is that the next "Fashion" in food will be one where people will learn to be able to interpret themselves in a culinary way, this way the Guest will always win. Hi Shalmanese, You are 100% right!!!!! Everything we use in the kitchen is just food............. What some people like to call Chemicals are just food Additives which actually are taken from components of other living matter. Items like Transglutaminase are no more or less food than a carrot, but one seems to be more accepted than the other. The day people accept all ingredients for the edible food items that they are will be a great day! Have a great weekend!
  19. This story has been long overdue but to tell you truth there could not be a more relevant time to be discussing this topic! The topic I am talking about is New Cuisine as we know it today, it does not matter what name you know it by (Molecular Gastronomy, Progressive cuisine, Nueva Cocina, Techno-emotional, Avant Garde, Etc) the principles are all the same. There has been such a hot debate over the naming and defining of our cuisine and not enough work into Evolving it. Now we are at a critical point where people are starting to throw stones and writing an early obituary, let’s see how dead it really is! There have been 2 contributing factors in the virtual landslide of people ready to bury Progressive cuisine and look for it’s replacement: The most powerful of the 2 reasons is the announcement of Ferran to close El Bulli for 2 years, this came as a shock to most people during Madrid Fusion and as such the press were not ready to deal with it and started writing fanciful things to make themselves seem informed. The biggest shame of 2010 came with the total lack of relevant content during Madrid Fusion 2010 and the blatant in your face advertising from big corporations that have no place in a Progressive cuisine congress. Let’s first look at the 2 triggers then we will look at the overall situation…………………………….. Since the Ferran’s announcement the press have been ready to bury our cuisine and start the search for the new “In” thing. I must have had 30 requests or more for a comment regarding this idea from Media all over the world, I refuse to buy into the theory and as such will not comment as I think it is ridiculous! Ferran’s announcement has been one which has been coming for a few years now, the 6 months they have off every year is not enough to develop the Cuisine of El Bulli to the satisfaction of Ferran. Ferran said he did not want it to get to the stage where the daily services disrupt the investigation and progression of food, so this is a way that he can investigate and advance in peace. That is the situation pure and simple, Ferran is a big part of Progressive cuisine but not the only part. Believe it or not there are some pretty amazing Chefs all over the world progressing food and concepts, we do not all follow and copy El Bulli like many other “Chefs” out there. So this being said, yes the biggest face of Progressive cuisine is sitting on the bench for 2 years but he will come back stronger than ever in 2014 and in the meantime there are plenty of other Chefs who will continue as per usual! I am not going to harp on too much for the faults of Madrid Fusion 2010, I think I did that enough in the previous 3 posts. I will say that it is a shame that content has been deemed irrelevant and economics has won the day. Let’s just discuss the situation in the industry. Throughout history there have been Chefs who have kept up with the changing fashions in food and eventually have become so lost in what they are doing that no one can relate to what they are doing. Food should never be a fashion because by definition fashions change frequently to be up with the times, thus running for a period of no more than 8 – 10 years. The first indication of a Chef in this category is one who claims to cook “Molecular Gastronomy”, this is the first alarm bell for me as this generally a Chef who only produces copies and cooks to be a celebrity. This is a Chef who cooks with no concept and no theory and he is like a Bower Bird, taking and stealing techniques and entire plates from other Chefs until he has a menu which is made up of nothing but copies (slightly resembling a Shanghai fake good’s market). This is generally the first Chef to change his style and jump on board the next “In” concept and abandon what he has been doing as there is no sentiment anyway due to the fact nothing belongs to him. Just look on the internet and see how many people are reading the latest cook books and reproducing the works of other Chefs in their restaurants, where is the creativity and passion in that? The second group of Chefs are those who are the pioneers of a concept and are active contributers to the long term future of cuisine, These Chefs cook with heart and all of their creations come from within, not from what they see or read. I like to consider myself as being a part of this group which is populated by many truly amazing Chefs such as: Paul Pairet, Andoni Andruiz, Dani Garcia, Grant Achatz, Ferran and Albert Adria, Alex Atala, Quique Dacosta Wylie Dufresne + many more. Chefs who cook to a Concept and who will never steal for the sake of an easy dish. What we are doing now cannot be a fashion as we have begun to understand food like never before in History and we are now creating a more intelligent way to cook. Imagine until just recently that we didn’t truly understand the cooking process of an egg, now with research we can now poach the perfect egg inside of the shell (64.5 degrees) which has a melt in your mouth texture or even make the perfect gel from egg yolk (70 degrees) that can be spread like a paste. Or the understanding of fish cookery so when we cook fish it can be the same every time without breaking a single cell on the inside during cooking and keeping all of the natural juices. Or Utilizing the ingredients and natural sugars inside of ketchup to be able to naturally crystallize it into something which tastes like Heinz Ketchup but looks like glass, puts a different spin on a Caprese salad. Or being able to serve whole fish without the bones and without the use of any additive, just by respecting the natural process of re-bonding. This list can go on forever but I think I have made my point. How can intelligent cookery be a fashion? I look at it like Pandora’s box, now that it is opened we cannot pretend that we don’t know whats inside. There is a part that I agree with and I will be happy to see the end of……………………………. That is those “Chefs” who have jumped on the back of the “Molecular gastronomy” train and have ridden it all the way to stardom without ever having to create something with their own hands. By purely copying the work of other Chefs there have been many Chefs who have been able to fool media and their diners into thinking that they are performing some kind of intelligent cooking, but instead the truth is that they are like a good parrot being able to see and replicate. I have eaten in many of these places all over the world and each time I am more and more amazed at how little they really understand about what they are doing. At the end of the day a meal still has to be a meal, it must follow the basic format of a meal and you must feel like you have eaten a meal by the end. This concept of dining being a magic show is only for those Chefs who do not have enough content in what they are doing and need to distract the guests during the meal so they don’t realize the Chef can’t actually cook. In my food there is a lot of Technique and many points of humor in a 27 course menu, but it is there because it serves a purpose or helps to tell the story I want to get across. Let’s look at what makes a meal………………. Overall feeling of satisfaction by the end without being excessively full or under fed. Highs and lows during the course of the meal Balance of temperatures Balance of textures Nourishment Enjoyment! Did you notice that nowhere in that list did you see the need for 8 courses using spherification in the same menu? As a final point I would like to say to those of you who are speculating that “Classic cuisine” will be the next Cuisine and that Progressive is Dead, the only part of our cuisine that is dead are those Chefs who imitate without any understanding. They will be the first to adopt what they hear is the next big thing and leave the rest of us free to continue creating and evolving food.
  20. Day 2..................... I don’t like to put anything negative in my stories as I feel you can find something positive in everything………………… But unfortunately the grand image I used to have of Madrid Fusion is slowly coming down brick by brick this year, Day 1 was lacking content and day 2 was just the biggest commercial exercise I have seen in the 5 years I have been coming. I will explain more later. Day 2’s first big event was Alain Ducasse himself doing a “Dialog with a Genius”, this was great as it is not often you get to hear such a legend speak. He was pretty much explaining his progression to where he is today and also his view on the future of food and how he feels about the progression. The only criticism I have is that there were not really any questions with substance asked by the 2 people interviewing him (owner of Madrid Fusion and President of Spanish Gastronomy), I feel there could of been a lot more come out of this session. But all the same I enjoyed very much! Next was the Great Michel Troisgros! This session was what Madrid Fusion was and should be all about! Michel has such a relaxed presenting style and really bonded with the audience. He did a great presentation using eco-sustainable caviar. The first dish was pressed caviar which he smashed into a strip between 2 sheets of Plastic, he then cooked some endive in vacuum. The endive were laid flat side to side and then the caviar strip was placed on the top. It was then rolled in what could only be best described as a roulade then slowly heated, it was served on it’s end which made it look almost like a pinecone. Second he did some raviolis made from very thinly sliced potato and caviar inside, this was alternated with green peas and dressed with some smoked butter. The commercialism of Madrid Fusion this year is a big problem I have with it and has left a very bad taste in the mouth of many of the guests, Chefs and media. The shame of the whole conference was during the demonstration of Michel when they made him present between 2 massive Mumm Champagne stands and they stopped him halfway to bring out some champagne and make him Cheers for the cameras! The look on his face said that he didn’t even know this was arranged…………………. How shameful can you be! Madrid Fusion, you have really started to become greedy! For the second day in a row I did not manage to get any lunch, each day they put on a lunch from a particular area of Spain. The idea is that they produce enough to feed everyone lunch as there is not anywhere else to go. By the time I saw the first tray come out I made my way over and by the time I got to the table there was none left and before I knew it they were already serving sweets, so lunch was served for a total of 10 – 15 minutes. After “Lunch” there was an amazing Chef by the name of Yoshihiro Narisawa, he did a presentation entitled: Land, Air and Fire. This is a Chef that works with many natural ingredients and all with a very strong concept! First he used a wood working Plane to shave some strips of some wood and then used them as you would Bonito flakes to make dashi. This was a great idea as they look very similar and you release the oils and scents when you add the hot water as you do with Bonito. But the best thing he did was the venison which he marinated and dry aged using natural branches as skewers, for this he used Venison which he wrapped in the wood strips which had been marinated in Sake then pasted with Miso. This was hung outside for a total of 3 days. The result looked amazing, a thin band of cured marination on the outside and a firmer texture on the inside as the excess impurities had been removed during the process. The great presentations didn’t end there………….. Next was Andoni Luis Anduriz from Mugaritz, who I am sure doesn’t need any introductions being one of the greats of our industry. He presented an amazing concept and technique which was by far the best info to come out of the conference. Andoni presented a study he has been doing regarding the effect of Lime stone on food, which is not new as the Mexicans have been using it to Whiten Tortillas for hundreds or thousands of years. But what he did discover that is definitely new is the effect when used on fruits and vegetables. He has discovered that when used in a concentration of 20g of powdered lime to make a water bath you can soak your fruits or vegetables for a period of up to 3 hours and the lime will bond to the natural pectins that already exist. This gel that forms is non water or temperature solvent, this means you can create an impermeable layer on the outside so all the steam stays on the inside during cooking and doesn’t soften the outside. This creates a very dry skin on the outside and an inside that you can scoop out with a spoon once you break through the skin with a knife. The possibilities are endless for this discovery he has made! The presentation from Andoni was definitely one of the best of the Madrid Fusion. Let’s see if day 3 can right the wrongs done in the first 2 days or if it really is the end of what used to be the best Progressive Cuisine conference in the world.
  21. It’s that time of year again that we all wait 12 months for in anticipation for what we we can expect to see. Madrid Fusion is now 1 day into it and the program is sure to have something for everyone! The first day saw many conferences from a wide variety of Chefs including David Munoz (New 1 Star Michelin Chef and friend of mine from Diverxo Madrid), Ferran Adria (El Bulli, Rosas), Mark Best (Marque, Sydney), Grant Achatz (Alinea, Chicago), Joan Roca (El Cellar de Can Roca), a Jam session by a group of 4 Danish progressive Chefs, + many more……………………………… There is not much to say about David Munoz, he is a great Chef with an amazing future ahead of him! Already his new restaurant is booked out up to 3 months in advance, for good reason as I have never heard of anyone having a bad experience which is rare in this industry! Ferran did a very good presentation of a lot of his cocktail techniques, but the announcement that stole the show is that El Bulli is closing for 2 years in 2012 and 2013! This is so Ferran can refocus and regroup the concepts of El Bulli and open in 2014 with some strong new concepts. Stay tuned to see how this announcement effects the food world and what the ripple effects will be! Ferran also prepared an amazing video about Autumn. In a 10-15 minute display the directors really captured what Autumn is really about and very graphically transported you there through sound triggers and visual displays. This was matched with the food associated with Autumn in it’s raw form and then it’s El Bulli progressive form! Very impressive! Mark Best and Pasi from Australia presented a great display of what is Australian food! Mark Best is one of the greats from Australia and a true ambassador of our country, his food is pure and honest without anything that doesn’t need to be and nothing without a purpose. Mark and Pasi presented 2 great dishes, the first being and Abalone and mushrooms dish with a salad of seaweed and the second dish was Smoked chicken ovum and Oysters. Both of which looked and I am sure tasted stunning! Grant Achatz chose to do an interview style conference where he did not cook, he was interviewed instead by an American food journalist who made it a Q&A session. I found it a little too similar to last year with no real material that showed his progression during 2009. It was also very light and a little unstructured for a congress of such a high level like Madrid Fusion, if the aim was to make it look like an interview it should of been more fluid with less pauses and covering the same topics. Don’t get me wrong I think Grant is a genius and I love his work, but I don’t think he got that across properly this year. Recently crowned a 3 star Chef, Joan Roca did a very good video presentation. He was given the topic of Sherry Vinegar to work with and he sure pulled out a few great dishes. My only problem was that there were too many people before him who presented via video instead of cooking and the reason why Chefs travel from all over the world is to watch the Chefs and their teams prepare their latest works. But all the same Joan presented some great work and at least he used Jordi for the video presentation So now for the part where I probably should of stopped writing………………………. What were the last group of guys thinking? We all know Rene Redzepi from Noma in Copenhagen (number 3 in the world), I actually ate there last year and had an amazing meal that I still very often remember today. The idea of this conference was that it was a group of Danish friends who were doing a “Jam Session” in the kitchen, after this demonstration I can confidently say, Jam sessions are best left for the Garage when you are trying to play music with your friends, leave the kitchen for cooking. Rene was playing the helper to his friends and not cooking which was a shame as I would of preferred to see him cook. It wasn’t a total disaster as there were 1 or 2 good dishes, but the rest were a real shame. In trying to make the whole thing look like friends playing around and cooking, they actually made it come across as sloppy and careless. Mads prepared his Signature dish (which he stressed 3 times, I would not be advertising this) which was a dish of raw foie gras and langoustines. he would of done better to cut the foie gras with a chainsaw as he made a total mess then continued to cut the langoustines on a dirty board and with a knife which had more foie gras than what is in a terrine. This was assembled on the plate by what looked like a man who was plating dinner for the blind, in a manner I have never before seen. No respect for beauty or even basic cleanliness, then to top it off he “Garnished” the plate with so much oil that it made the raw foie gras look like it was melting…………………. The rest just went downhill from there. I am sure they are all great Chefs by themselves when they are taking there food seriously, but in this “Jam Session” format I can say they did not come across as Chefs anyone would pay to see demonstrate much less spend their hard earned money to visit their restaurants! Let’s see what day 2 has in store
  22. Hi Percyn, The food is exactly the same as on my blog, it will be evolved in my lab on a daily basis. The thing people don't seem to get outside of Spain is the importance of the rhythm of a meal and how important it is so you don't start to digest and get tired and full. A 27 course menu should be eaten comfortably in 1 and a half hours and without leaving the guest feeling full before, after or during the meal. Lengthy testing is done to ensure this is always the case and also that every component of the menu goes harmoniously with no unintentional repetition of ingredients or techniques. As for the restaurant process, I am still trying to lock down many details (it is a pretty torturous process). As soon as the ball gets rolling I will be writing about it on madridlab.net and also my new website (www.manhattanlab.com) which is under construction. You will be welcome to come by anytime, The aim is to have an opon door policy on my creative lab for anyone who wants to learn or participate. I am currently negotiating on a TV series which will be filmed in my lab and will document the daily evolution of food. Thanks for your response, Kind Regards from Spain.
  23. I have a food blog here in Spain, I am not sure if anyone has mentioned it. www.madridlab.net I am the Head Chef for a research lab which is owned by Ferran Adria and Paco Roncero. Check it out.
  24. Hey Ronaldo, The name "Molecular Gastronomy" in Spain is not used as it has become a very bad term. We tend to use the term "Progressive cuisine" as it better describes what we do. I am actually the Head Chef of the Creative Lab for La Terraza del Casino. We work with Ferran and as such we have a part of our menu which are his plates and we go every season to El Bulli so he can show us how they are done to the exact standards of El Bulli. To make a reservation please mail the address below, we are usually booked solid for dinner and especially since we gained our second Michelin Star. Please mention that you know me (Adam Melonas) and they will try and fit you in. terraza.casino@nh-hotels.com Enjoy Spain! Kind Regards,
  25. It was a Great presentation Last night, and an even better party after! I am the Head Creative Chef in charge of the Lab at La Terraza del Casino, we are thrilled with the edition of the second Star! Congratulations to Joan and Jordi as their 3rd star was long overdue, I am also very happy for my friend David Muñoz at DiverXo for his first star, he is a great Chef and he deserves very good things! Not to forget a big congratulations to everyone in Spain! Thanks for putting the results for everyone to see Victor, Adam
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