tirsdag, januar 24, 2006

Ny utvikling i kokkeverden!

Du er kanskje i tvil om i hvilken retning utviklingen i "kokkeverden" tar.
Se på vedlagte artikkel fra et nylig abholdt seminar i Madrid. Det er neppe tilfeldig at 1000 deltagere fra hele verden deltok. Jeg har med vilje ikke oversatt artikkelen, fordi den da hadde mistet detaljer jeg ikke er istand til å oversette:

Star chefs help Spain whip up a culinary summit

By Dale Fuchs International Herald TribuneMONDAY, JANUARY 23, 2006, Madrid

An untrained eye might not recognize all the wizardry on stage as anything even remotely related to cooking.

But this audience nodded knowingly as the Barcelona chef Jordi Herrera "impaled a steak on a bed of nails that looked like a medieval contraption," as the Food Arts magazine founder Michael Batterberry put it. And nobody flinched when the Catalan icon Ferran Adrià and his team used a petite blowtorch to candy-coat the yolk of raw quail's egg, then wielded something like a drill to spin olive oil into a spool of fine candy thread.

The blasé response was fitting. The Spanish chefs were playing to enlightened foodies - more than 1,000 critics, caterers and other chefs from around the world - who dropped their foams du jour to attend last week's creative cuisine summit in Madrid. This small-portion crowd is accustomed to odd ingredients like pulverized fish bones and cooking at temperatures fine-tuned to a single degree. They drop terms like "sous vide," a technique in which food is cooked in hermetically sealed pouches, the way ordinary mortals talk about the microwave. To them, Adrià's blowtorched yolk is no surprise.

"I've got to try that quail's egg - but I wouldn't do it as dessert, I would do it as a canapé," said Joseph Keller, chef of Bistro Zinc in Nevada, nonchalantly. Then he turned to ogle a glorified blender with multiple temperature gradients used in a demonstration by the Basque chef Martín Berasategui to make foie gras mousse.

The gourmet summit, dubbed Madrid Fusión, featured two dozen celebrity chefs from Europe and the United States, who demonstrated vanguard cooking techniques borrowed from science and industry, such as "micro filtration," responsible for the colorless gazpacho produced by Spanish chef Caramelo Bosque.

The Madrid trade pavilion looked like the stage set for a televised cooking show - with two kitchen islands, spectator bleachers and large screens magnifying every oyster placement, liquified cucumber skin and pinch of chemically correct gelatin.

The audience wore earphones for simultaneous translations so as not to miss a word from star chefs like Thomas Keller of the French Laundry in Napa Valley.
And for anyone who has been cooking steak and potatoes for the last decade, Adrià offered a 23-point primer on nouvelle cuisine as applied to his wait-list-only restaurant El Bulli, north of Barcelona. According to the El Bulli "commandments," which Adrià set forth with the brio of a politician, thou shalt serve small portions, seek the advice of scientific experts, stimulate all five senses and, for some unexplained reason, revel in "savory ices."

"The barriers between the sweet and savory world are being broken down," he proclaims in commandment 13. Irony in food fortunately is O.K. (commandment 21) - but only as long as it is "bound up with the process of gastronomic reflection."

Between star chef demonstrations, the foodies flocked to sessions on table settings, digital wine lists and new formulas for cod (does the world need another cod dish?). They wrung their hands over the existential debate: "Chocolate: between the sweet, the salty and the frontier of taste." And at lunchtime they feasted on 23 different dishes in little round or square cups, many with the texture of mousse. The only way to distinguish one from the other was the color of the thin gelatinous layer on top.
"What's this?" said one Spanish participant.
"I have no idea," said another.
"It's like potatoes with aioli, but a modern version," said Saúl Martín Fulgencio, in charge of the restaurant at the Agumar Hotel in Madrid. He moved on to another small cup of mousse. "This is partridge escabeche gel - no, wait, I think it taste more like tuna."

The E3 million, or $3.6 million, spectacle, sponsored in part by the Spanish tourist board and foreign trade institute, joins the government's campaign to promote the country as a haute cuisine destination to rival neighboring France and Italy - and bolster exports of specialty foods and wine along the way. And so between the star performances, visiting chefs and critics nibbled at plates of Spanish cheese and other national delicacies on display at sponsored tasting stands.

A cooperative of Iberian ham producers, Covap, hoped to convince the elite crowd of the virtues of heretofore unknown cuts of their black, acorn-fed hogs. High-end olive oil producers such as Castillo de Tabernas hoped the buzz about Spanish cuisine will help them compete with sophisticated Italian rivals. The wine label Alcorta announced that it would sponsor a cooking contest judged by Berasategui - a direct shot at prestige by association.

In recent years, exports have, in fact, seemed to cling to the coattails of the big-name chefs. Since 2000, foreign sales of extra virgin olive oil have almost doubled, wine is up 15 percent, cheese is up 52 percent and cured ham has grown by 40 percent, according to the Spanish Institute of Foreign Commerce.
At home, the culinary revolution has spilled over from experimental kitchens and now flavors mainstream Spanish society.

Cooking and wine-tasting courses have become fashionable, celebrity chefs' cookbooks fill bookstores, and televised cooking shows now feature creative cuisine - courtesy of the star chef José Andrés - along with the usual household variety. Culinary institutes are filling up with a generation of Adrià-wannabes.
"I remember 10 years ago, when I first decided to go to cooking school instead of university, all my friends looked at me like, 'How low you've fallen,"' said the 30-year-old Andalusian chef Dani García, who uses liquid nitrogen to give tomato and olive oil the texture of popcorn. "Now people respect the profession."

Spain's rapid rise in standard of living has made funky food a status symbol among a new generation of ever-more demanding diners, according to José Luis Guerra, secretary of FEHR, a national restaurant association. Roughly 40 percent of new restaurants serve some sort of creative cuisine, he said. The phenomenon has extended beyond the culinary capitals of San Sebastián and Barcelona. Disciples of Adrià, Arzak and others can be found with their laboratory-honed techniques everywhere from tradition-steeped southern Seville to the pilgrim-packed Santiago de Compostela and the forgotten towns in betweeen. In Madrid, it is as easy to find a plate of carpaccio with raspberry drizzle as old-fashioned batter-dipped cod.

"There has been a cultural revolution that trickled down from top to bottom - it's even made it to the tapas bars," Guerra said. "The other day I was at a wedding - there's nothing innovative about that - and they served lentils with a spoonful of foie gras. We've never been at that level before."

The tourism industry is salivating over culinary revolution and trying to bite into it. Ferran Adrià, for instance, has designed the menu for 16 in-house restaurants in the NH hotel chain, according to a spokesman for NH, Lucas Martínez. The Sol Meliá chain recently hired the chef Dani García to run a new restaurant, Calima, in their Marbella hotel.

"No matter how much fame I attain, for me to open a restaurant 20 meters from the sea with the machines I want and the products and the staff would be impossible otherwise," he said before an award ceremony for "best service," followed by the "designer sandwich" contest.

Throughout the three-day summit, there was drama in every cut and crumb.
The Dutch chef Sergio Herman moved across the stage in black sneakers, his dark hair slicked black like a film star - those puffy white hats are as passé as pot roast - as he added a luxury Slurpy of Champagne and sugar water to an oyster. Applause. For his next feat, he concocted a foam with oyster juice, beer and wasabi. His finale involved butternut squash, hazelnuts and whatever Tasmanian pepper is.

The Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda watched attentively from the first row. What did he learn? He mused.
"It was a nice reminder," he said. "I haven't used Tasmanian pepper for a while."


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