September, 2017


With this year's San Sebastian Gastronomika barely two week's away, we take a look back at the 2016 edition of what Forbes Magazine has called the most significant gastronomy gathering in the world.

Gastronomy of Hope, San Sebastian Gastronomika

That there is peace in the world: Yoshihiro Narisawa

Oct., San Sebastian / Almunecar

In 2011, after a remarkable dinner at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Cataluña, I was talking to chef Joan Roca, who with brothers Jordi, the innovative dessert chef and remarkable host-sumiller Josep, has brought Celler to the pinnacle of world gastronomy.

“This idea of generosity, to share, from all of this comes creativity, a manner of thinking,” Joan Roca explained. “I believe all of this is an important contribution of Spanish cuisine to the world.”

Since that night, the restaurant has twice topped the list in the San Pellegrino The World’s Best 50 Restaurants awards. As reigning Number 1, Mr. Roca’s appearance at San Sebastian Gastronomika 2016 was anxiously awaited and he did not disappoint. He talked of El Celler’s focus on probes in fermentation, their activism in combatting hunger in Africa, the implementation of an on-site recycling facility, and an actual dish where culinary and literary culture interlaced.

were noteworthy choices. France and Italy had of course been honoured, and recently the city of London on its own. But this year?

Organizers chose to “showcase the continent from different emergent, innovative and brand-new aspects.” Turkey was honoured as culinary crossroad between Europe and Asia with its rich history and diverse culinary culture. Hungary was selected for having the most progressive cuisine of Eastern Europe, mixing the contemporary with a deep heritage of both savoury folk and elegant classical cuisines.

The spirit of the congress and how it has evolved was clear in the prefacing remarks by one of the Turkish chefs: on the destruction of Aleppo. It was a poignant lament of an historic gastronomic capital close to his home, in the midst of an uplifting celebration of gastronomy in world culture.

This year’s audience learned that the practice of sustainable, local and healthy cuisine is a common concern with presenters from every continent. So too is the preservation
of tradition. They brought stories and tastes of ingredients and dishes

narisaw dish - Copy

Joan and Josep Roca were two of a number of Catalan chefs among leading lights both established and emerging from across Spain, invited to the city that holds the most Michelin stars per square metre in the world.

Events like this, where Spain’s chefs can share their current ideas and techniques have been fundamental to the nation’s unabated development in producing high quality, thinking chefs. Tied to this is an utter global awareness and openness to world cultures that is inspired by Gastronomika’s invitation of acclaimed chefs from every continent.

This year’s Gastronomika was direct in its message with its theme of Five Continents, Five Culinary Cultures and the featured countries of Europe

Photo Credits: Gerry Shikatani except those marked
gsr (Grup gsr, Congress Organizers)

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