The XI edition of Madrid Fusión, the most recognized gastronomy conference in Spain, had the presence of more than 80 international chefs. As part of the theme “Creativity Continues”, these chefs lead the way with 17 masterful workshops where gourmet cuisine was brought to the public.
The conference took place between January 21st to 23rd at the IFEMA convention center where coffee was the star product and the showcased cuisine was from Minas Gerais—Brazil . There was no shortage of new tools, techniques and the most creative uses.
With a part dedicated to “Be Creative”, they spoke about astronaut food and hamburgers made out from stem cells, among others. The most notable products were a grill that chills instead of heating up, sea water sold in little boxes to prepare food, a 3D printer with food puree in its cartridges, dishware made from corn, black truffle liquor and much more.
The featured cuisine was from Minas Gerais – Brazil’s most gastronomically rich state. They introduced cachaça, coffee and their typical cheeses as well as other unique ingredients. Alex Atala gave a great speech about exotic plates based on regional products and presented a video where he recognized small Brazilian producers.
When asked if he considered himself as an ambassador of Brazilian cuisine, Alex Atala answered: I consider myself as one of the ambassadors. Perhaps I am “the shining tip of the iceberg”, making it known to the world that Brazil is not just an emerging country. It is not the work of one person but of many. Alex said, between smiles, that it is very exciting, like a dream, like a continuous cry that keeps coming out slowly. It is a great responsibility, hard, but worthwhile.
Andoni Luis Aduriz introduced his new project in collaboration with the brand New Food Spray. They are food sprays with the ability to prepare tempura, cream cheese, churro dough, and pastry cream. Aduriz stated that “you only have to place it in the skillet”. Elena Arzak presented a plate called “Land Hake” using balloons based on paper mache. She prepared a green balloon on a transparent sheet made from corn with parsley and barley juice and covered the hake with a green Biscayan sauce. This truly was creativity that continues.Coffee, one of the most appreciated beans in the world, left the cup to enter a world of salty, with novelty uses like we had never imagined before. Josean Alija stands out as the chef of the Nerua restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. In collaboration with Illy coffee, Josean has been working with scientists since 2012 to introduce coffee as more of an ingredient in cooking. Some of the coffee creations that stood out include the infusion of green coffee with bean sprouts, sugar coated tomatoes in coffee oil, toast with eggplant and coffee cream, and coffee beer.
Josimar Melo, Brazilian gastronomy critic, commented about the impact that the conference had; the sense of connecting professionals, spreading knowledge and the work that it is being done. “The conference lets the knowledge become global rather than local as it was before”. In general, he told us, in the past he had a role as an amplifier, like “a great box of resonance” of the avant-garde Spanish cooking: mysterious, fascinating and before unknown. Now it is as important as ever with the exchange of knowledge to also bring new trends from other countries. When asked about the situation of Brazilian cuisine he said: today, on top of having the richness of nature with ingredients that can only be found there, a modern cuisine is developing with chefs in line with global trends.
The conference was the scene for the auction of a white truffle, sold for 8,500 Euros – 400g. and a black truffle for 5,500 Euros – 1kg. The white one was from Piemonte, Italy and the black one was cultivated in Huesca. One could have tasted them through rich tapas like the French macaroni stuffed with truffle butter. The feminine inspired soda called Pinkcow was introduced to the market for the first time. Aside from the marvelous gourmet food made to precision by the chefs, it remains imperative that the quality of the products be exceptional for the different types of exquisite, renowned and regional delicacies, as it was.