My passion for food takes me on on some incredible journeys where I meet very talented, creative, passionate people pushing forward the boundaries of cuisine and sometimes creating foodie revolts and movements that permeate onto plates on a global level. Food is culture, art and imagination on a plate and some meals become benchmarks by which I tend to judge and rate future dining experiences. Sometimes in a given year for me this boundary gets pushed outward multiple times.
Over the years I have come to know well many iconic chefs and what I classify as culinary artists who are not only creative but in some ways are food philosophers and have the ability to change perceptions and our approach to cooking, presenting and ingesting foods.
The creation of food has in the present world become closely intertwined with technology and science which has sometimes been falsely interpreted as the ability to utilize it for gimmicks to stay ahead of competition. This is obvious at many food events with slick videos and cooking demonstrations that require a science degree to comprehend and it seems improbable that they will become part of mainstream hospitality kitchens but a few years down the road THEY DO!
I travel to many food conferences in the world including Mesamérica in Mexico City, MAD Symposium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Mistura in Lima, Peru and Gastronomika in San Sebastian, Spain and have had very interesting and candid conversations with many chef friends, journalists, producers, researchers, food scientists and as well as some rare dining experiences in the form of collaborations between chefs.
Maintaining the Michelin stars or the rank on the 50 Best Restaurants list, selling cookbooks,being present at every food conference to stay in the spotlight has taken many extremely talented chefs out of their kitchens for extended periods of time and created a disconnect from their diners and followers. I have had discussions about these issues and many sometimes controversial topics with chefs and have been writing about these in various publications. My desire is to present the relatable, personal and very real side of these individuals that is sometimes very different than the persona created by their publicists. I want to simply share my stories and experiences with others like me who will travel to another part of the world for a special meal or when I snag an impossible to get reservation (like flying to Copenhagen at a very short notice few years ago to dine at Noma). I have lost count of how many Michelin star restaurants I have visited, some memorable meals I enjoyed and some not so amazing. Incredible stories about chef Paul Bocuse as related to me by chef Joel Robuchon, chef Juan Mari’s candid memories of his family home and his Arzak restaurant, Pierre Gagnaire’s reminences of the family from Jodhpur India that supplied his spices 25 years ago, chef Alex Atala’s passion for the Amazon, personal travels , trials and tribulations of chefs like Rene Redzepi, Albert Adria’s views on the restaurant business, controversies between well known chefs and their opposing stance on issues and crazy events like Gelinaz with 20+ top chefs in the world cooking together and partying after imbibing a few too many are the stories I will be sharing on this forum.
My gastro travels also take me into culinary outposts, local markets and visits with people like Gustavo Leon the General Manager and Executive Chef of Monastario hotel in Cusco, Peru who spent seven years managing the Sanctuary Lodge right outside the gates to Machu Pichu. Gustavo spent that time at a place that is on most people’s bucket list while transforming into a self taught chef and during his tenure there entertained and fed culinary stars including Ferran Adrià, who traveled to this incredible spot. The chefs participating in the Danish Copenhagen House of Food who I met and spent time with during the Danish Organic Food festival. The cheese makers I visited in the Basque country of Spain, the baker from Venezuela I met at Mistura, Sandra Plevisani, the dessert queen from Peru, Sebastian Mazzola, one of the most creative young chefs today, the husband and wife team of Quintonil in Mexico City, Alberto Burrati a young Italian chef I met in Spain who had just finished an internship with Massimo Bottura and was opening his own place, the cooks at the Tacos Pastor stand in Mexico City are representative of the vast spectrum of food related personalities that I get to know and whose stories and pictures I will be sharing with my readers.