Back on track after México

Time to sum up a great week in Mexico and another gastronomical experience with loads of emotions. After a couple of days in Cáceres prepare for the Madrid Fusion congress we left at Saturday night for Madrid and the airport. Excited and full of curiosity for what should come and if I should survive all the hot Mexican food. The congress with some of the best chefs at the moment and a bunch of Spanish ones including Toño Pérez who invited me to join the congress. Already at the airport I got the opportunity to meet some other of the great chefs when we catches up with Eneko Atxa and Dani García both holding two starred restaurants. Already at the airport I knew that this trip should be a trip with almost just one subject – Gastronomy. But what else to expect when all these great chefs from all over the world, going together and create a fusion festival for gastronomy.
All the chefs on stage

My first Mexican food experience started already at the airport and my fear was confirmed. I bought a croissant with cheese and ham and thought I should have a regular sandwich, but not! After a bite I felt how the tongue started to heat up and my nose started to stick. My body raised its temperature with a degree and I started to sweat a bit. I learned a lesson from that moment to always ask – Picante?

We arrived late on Sunday night so missed the opening ceremony dinner but because we had the opening speech on Monday morning I bet that straight to bed was the right thing. After a 40 minute drive from León to Guanajuato – city for the congress – checked in at the hotel and a couple of hours in bed the alarm rang six o clock in the morning. Our speech of “Escabeche” – A technique for pickling and conserve food, mainly fish and meats was first out and the congress was filled with people. Students from culinary universities, journalists and of course chefs from here and there. Twenty minutes on stage in the light of fame – wow, I wonder if that´s how Lady Gaga feels when she´s entering a stage? The morning was committed to pickling techniques and after us followed a bunch of chefs talking about ceviche.
Backstage kitchen
But if the first morning was committed to pickling techniques the rest of the congress should come to have another main technique on the schedule – Liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen seems to be the technique that everyone talks about at the moment. I think almost a third of all the chefs at the congress used liquid nitrogen to create their demonstrations. It´s mainly a technique to create false effects, shape new forms of food or changing textures. Amazing results like “Nitrotomatoes” by Dani García is just one of many.

But there was one man that literally rocked the stage and got the audience to loudly laugh and raised their seats of applauds. Denis Martin with his restaurant in Switzerland awarded with two Michelin stars creates a cuisine touch different to others. With his speech named “humor in the kitchen” you got the idea that this guy wants a smile on the guests face. Plates like “nothing” – a white plate with a spoon and a waiter that pours nothing from the can? Well the spoon keeps a flavored transparent film! This is what makes gastronomy so interesting. No other thing keeps as many emotions as food does and to use all your senses is more important than ever. Everyone is free to create their kind of food and experience of their style of cuisine. Either you like it or not – this is a guy that I admire for his believe – something that I also want one day.

First day was over and we all went for a short siesta before the dinner. A dinner at a restaurant of one of the chefs who spoke at the congress. A familiar dinner with some great Mexican food and with the pleasure to share table with amazing professionals like Andoni Aduriz from Mugaritz, Alex Atala from D.O.M. in Brazil and Oriol Balaguer to name some and you realize that I had a quite pleasant dinner.

But everything wasn´t great with this trip and the next day should be a horrible experience. I don´t want to explain more than I got food poisoned so Tuesday was a day addicted to the bathroom and bed at the hotel. But as fast as it comes as fast does it goes and after twelve hours it was over and I was ready for the final day of the congress. I missed the American day with chefs like Corey Lee, Charlie Trotter and Canadian chef Jonathan Gushue and Susur Lee. But nothing bad that keeps something good with it. Next day should be a great day with interesting speeches about Mexican chocolate and chocolates in general from chocolatiers Carlos García, José Ramón Castillo and the master himself – Oriol Balaguer. The revolution of chocolate that we´ve seen the last ten years is incredible and to get the opportunity to share experiences with the ones that leads the evolution is a real pleasure.
Dinner with some great chefs at a mountaintop restaurant
Wednesday finished with the best of them all – Andoni Aduriz and the institution for world leading gastronomy today. I can only imagine what goes around in the head of that guy but for sure – it will be a new revolutionary culinary experience every time he releases something new. Can´t wait until I get the opportunity to dine in Mugaritz.

After three interesting days (well at least two for me) and a bunch of new friends we were invited to chef Mónica Solís restaurant for a private dinner. Mexican food in a restaurant on top of a mountain with a view absolutely stunning over the city. To sum up this Mexican journey with another memory for life, with interesting aspects of gastronomy, with new knowledge of the Mexican food and with a huge thanks to Toño who invited me to join and of course all the other chefs that really showed their best side. After the dinner we all went out for some drinks but what happens when a bunch of chefs from some of the best restaurants in the world goes together for drinks – well that is another story!

Christofer Johansson
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