It’s that time of year again – time for the annual Starchefs International Chefs Congress, an event I look forward to every year. This year’s edition with the theme of “The Sixth Sense: Intuition, Emotion and Experiential Evolution in Dining” started yesterday. As always, there is a ton going on and it is impossible to catch everything. Here are a few representative photos with more detail on select presentations to come.Chef Jonathan Benno started the morning with a Savory Hands-on Workshop on “Union and Disparity: Combinations that Stimulate the Mind and Palate.” Here, he is slicing a terrine made with octopus and pork belly. While Chef Benno was doing his demo, Chef Isao Yamada of Brushstroke was doing another demonstrating the philosophy and techniques of advanced knife skills in “Cutting Kaiseki.” The knives were explained, sharpening techniques shown and slicing techniques demonstrated and practiced.
The Pastry Competition went throughout the morning, leading to an elimination. It continues on Day 2.Master Butcher Doug Piper of Sydney, Australia did a workshop in which he broke down an Australian lamb and explained the cuts and how best to cook them. He later did a Main Stage demo along with Chef David Burke. One of my favorite tools, the C-Vap Oven was featured in Chef Craig Hopson’s workshop on “Simple Food, Vivid Memories: Transforming Humble Ingredients with Technology.” Starchefs Managing Editor opened the proceedings on the Main Stage. Starchefs Managing Editor Antoinette Bruno followed with her always fascinating State of the Industry address. Chef Grant Achatz was interviewed by award winning writer Kim Severson on his experience and what the Sixth Sense has meant to him and how he had to apply all the rest of his senses and more when he lost the sense of taste during his fight with tongue cancer. In a stimulating presentation, meticulous chef Laurent Gras explained his inspiration from Pablo Picasso and Cubism and the creation of a dish resembling a fish’s eye. I took a quick break to run across own to say hello to Ferran Adria, who was signing books at The Williams Sonoma in The Time Warner Center. I returned in time to catch Chefs Bjorn Frantzen and Daniel Lindeberg of Stockholm’s Frantzen/Lindeberg do their demo on hyper-seasonality. The day finished with Chef Daniel Boulud and Master Charcutier Gilles Verot crafting an amazing Seven Meat Terrine that was happily shared with the audience at the end of the demo.
Much more to come!