Diverxo changes location, Fiorani's performance, thoughts from Aduriz, Tutak grows, Guzman discovers Chile... The best from Gastromasa 2021

Notes from the congress in Istanbul, which summoned super-chefs from all around the world. Two "Italians": with Fiorani there was also Tokuyoshi, who talked about Bentoteca's boom

01-12-2021
The stage of Gastromasa 2021, sixth edition of the

The stage of Gastromasa 2021, sixth edition of the fine dining congress in Istanbul. This year, the theme was "Design"

Our notes from Gastromasa 2021, sixth edition of the international festival that summons in Istanbul, Turkey, a nice selection of the best chefs from all around the world. And creates in this plot the possibility of personally discovering many aspects of Turkish food, from fine dining which is constantly growing (though with some effort) to traditional processes and classic delicacies. A different and interesting format, compared to many other events. But in some way the track is the same as the Spanish congresses of the late millennium, or Identità Golose since 2005.

Gökmen Sözen

Gökmen Sözen

With a note on the margin which we tell from the beginning: the merit of the growth goes to the creator and curator of Gastromasa, Gökmen Sözen, who is a publisher and organiser of culinary events with his Sözen Group. He started from scratch, almost, and has grown so much he's now an acknowledged and constant present in the congresses of half the planet, and guides with wisdom the growth of the industry in his country. Well done, Gökmen! (By the way, no Turkish chef has yet been on the stage of Gastromasa, over the years. Only international guests. As if to say: it's soon, for now let's learn from others. But we're getting closer...).

David Muñoz

David Muñoz

DIVERXO CHANGES LOCATION – The talk from David Muñoz, one of the diamonds in the crown of contemporary (and beyond) Spanish cuisine was one of the most awaited, with his eccentric image of pure transgression. After all, his slogan is "avantgarde or death". In fact he's much calmer than the storytelling he's skilfully built, both in his manner and in his style of cooking: a kind young man who presents a neoclassic cuisine ("neo" in the original and cosmopolite choice of ingredients; "classic", in our opinion, in the resulting flavours), which has been awarded at his DiverXo in Madrid with three Michelin stars, a guide that is not really known for being innovative and unscrupulous. In any case, Muñoz was docile in his answers to three journalists; these covered some aspects that were rather obvious, but also an important announcement: his top restaurant (he has more) will change location for the fourth time. It was launched in 2007 in the barrio de Tetuán, calle de Francisco Medrano, moved two years later to calle Pensamiento in the same area, and then since 2014 has been in the current location at the NH Eurobuilding in calle del Padre Damián. Muñoz is very bright, a champion; he knows that his well-deserved success would not be as prominent without the flying pigs and the gigantic ants that guarantee the strong image of his restaurant. Emblems that perhaps are a little old now, which is quite normal: hence he's changing everything, a switch scheduled for September 2023, «it will be a larger restaurant, with the same DNA, but different formats. I want to create something unique, a different experience. It will be a challenge. We will still have gourmet pleasure, creativity, a focus on food and flavours». And then a lapidary sentence: «The secret of my success? Not looking for it».

Fabrizio Fiorani

Fabrizio Fiorani

FABRIZIO FIORANI MATTATORE - We already knew that  Fabrizio Fiorani is (also) made for the stage. We had another proof of this at Identità Milano 2021see here. The same happened in Istanbul, where the pastry chef performed a lovely show, entertaining the audience while they waited for a gelato that was supposed to arrive from behind the scenes but kept them waiting and waiting... Aside from these very tasty aspects, Fiorani charmed the audience – often calling for an applause, with irony – talking first of all about the main theme of the congress, that is to say Design, of which he presented its various interpretations: "Design meets tradition", and hence he told this 99% foreign audience about the different takes he's given over the years to tiramisù, a real icon of Italian desserts; "Design meets art", and hence the creations hinting at Bansky, Salvador Dalì, Hokusai, at the Monna Lisa; and so on. But then he also presented his very recent creation, which we had already presented and celebrated hereCarrots, honey from Sicilian black bees, and caramel and vanilla ice cream, an extraordinary dish, an archetype of fine dining desserts. Nothing more to add here.

Andoni Luis Aduriz

Andoni Luis Aduriz

THE THOUGHTS OF ANDONI ADURIZ - «Design... Designing a restaurant is like designing oneself. And we are the average of the five people with whom we spend our lives. Thinking of design is important: our Mugaritz was born 24 years ago, and since the beginning we knew well that a cuisine, especially a creative one, needs a specific design context. We don't just eat a territory, a product, a technique. But beauty». The context is crucial. Andoni Luis Aduriz exemplifies: «We have made some experiments. You only need to present the same dish in a different way to change its perception completely». It's the whole that makes everything.

Vladimir Mukhin

Vladimir Mukhin

VLADIMIR MUKHIN'S ETHIC CUISINE - Russian Vladimir Mukhin, of the (finally) starred White Rabbit in Moscow, explains how his analysis of "cooking trends" inspires him in the creation of his tasting menus, from the one called Black Swan from last year, to the current one, Metamorphoses. What does it mean? Basically, the chef urges not to use some themes, like sustainability or no waste, as smoke and mirrors, «but in fact dealing with these necessities helps us imagine the future». So if traditionally Russians welcome guests with a glass of vodka and a slice of fat, here is his Joy without guilt, that is to say coconut lard with alcohol-free vodka; in theme with healthy food he presents Scallops with sauce of fermented garlic, red currants and pickles, full of «phosphorus, magnesium and so on». And then there's the no waste: the heart of a cabbage is seasoned with a demi-glace of vegetable scraps; or some noodles are made with cereals already used to make beer.

Yoji Tokuyoshi

Yoji Tokuyoshi

TOKUYOSHI TELLS ABOUT HIS REBIRTH - «Necessity hones talent» could be the summary of the talk given by Yoji Tokuyoshi, who told the audience of Gastromasa about his "rebirth", that is to say the choices made during the pandemic, when he reconverted his restaurant in Via San Calocero 3 from a creative fine dining place to a more inclusive restaurant, the current Bentoteca: «I had to find a way of defending my work, my team, my family» (a video shows his partner, in tears, «Yoji is a marvellous father» she confesses). It all spurs from a necessity: the difficulties connected with Covid and all it caused, not only the lockdowns but also the difficulty in finding staff, «at some point I had no sommelier and basically no waiters. Of the 18 cooks in my staff, I only had 6 left». What could I do? The answer was Bentoteca, which meant 45K bentoboxes distributed through delivery in four months, 25K km covered up and down Italy, because Toku was committed to deliver also outside Milan, all around the country, on set days. «In the end I understood that a Japanese chef like me works better if he makes Japanese food [he used to cook Italian] but with a mix of cultures, and using Italian ingredients, this results in something different anyway», for instance the pairing of bone marrow and sakura (they don't eat bone marrow in Japan), or pigeon, which is marinated overnight in sake.

Rodolfo Guzman

Rodolfo Guzman

THE DELICIOUS WORLD OF RODOLFO GUZMAN – We really enjoyed Rodolfo Guzman's talk, who focused on territory, that is to say Chile, «4,200 km long, hence a great biodiversity» but of which we basically «knew very little, and indeed we didn't use its products at all» when he opened his Boragò in Santiago del Chile, 15 years ago, deciding to abandon the comfort of international and colonial fine dining. This is when he started a slow change in approach, «we started to experiment and discover». For instance, with the seeds of Chilean pines which, toasted, can be used to make a coffee-less espresso. Or the chocolate mushrooms, which in the winter grow also in the city, and we can pick even 20 or 40 kg per day» because they grow on trees, at at least 3 metres, hence the animals can't ruin them, «at first they taste of yeast but when you leave them to ripen on the tree they acquire a strong chocolate flavour. When you cut them, you can't let them fall because they will break, hence you must catch them with your hands. It's the best way». Or sea strawberries, which grow on the coast, smell like strawberries but are salty; and fruits like chirmoia (which he ages like cheese) or peumo, from which Guzman makes a puréed preserve, while he preserves the leaves in brine; and wild apples, and sea carrots... A kaleidoscope of flavours that nobody considered and now Guzman presents to the world.

Fatih Tutak

Fatih Tutak

THE GREAT GROWTH OF FATIH TUTAK – On the occasion of the congress, we treated ourselves to a nice lunch at Fatih Tutak's restaurant Turk. He's an emerging talent of Turkish cuisine, and we wrote about him here two years ago, when the restaurant was in pre-opening, and we were among the first journalists to visit it. At the time, we were rather impressed, but much still needed fine tuning, as normal. Two years later, the growth is impressive. We've been struck by extraordinarily made dishes, like Sea bass, tomato, Adana caviar. And even more so by Onions from Tokat, potatoes, tarhana of onions from last year. Pure fine dining, of the highest standards, but well rooted in the region.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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