No, there wasn’t an accumulation of top chefs from around the globe communing and foraging in Central Park. Not even Prospect Park. As much fun as that would likely be, what did occur was perhaps even more fun for the rest of us who got to listen to the likes of Massimo Bottura, Daniel Patterson, David Chang and Allesandro Porcelli regale us with entertaining and informative stories from the Cook It Raw events that have taken place so far in Europe and Asia. Lisa Abend, the author of The Sorcerer’s Apprentices and a correspondent for Time Magazine based in Spain, who has taken part in the various Cook It Raw events moderated the discussion. The event was in support of the new book from the editors of Phaidon, Cook it Raw, which documents the events held so far.
Cook It Raw initially started in Copenhagen in 2009 as a response to a summit on climate change taking place there. The chefs were charged to cook spontaneous dishes without the use of traditional energy sources. Subsequent events have taken place in various remote locations designed to test chef creativity, spontaneity and versatility. There was always a small cadre of specially selected diners to cook for (alas, I was never one!). A total of twenty seven different chefs have participated to date with three of them appearing at this talk.
Some of the highlights included Bottura recounting his attempts at cooking reindeer tongue in Lapland sous vide in his bathtub and figuring out how to make it work at the very last minute: David Chang’s hilarious story of partnering with Davide Scabin and Scabin being distracted by the presence of his wife and somehow with the help of everyone else avoiding having the stigma of making the worst dish; Daniel Patterson’s fretting about meeting David Chang and whether or not Chang would like him; and Porcelli talking about how the chefs were able to get together, open up to each other and engender a camaraderie that has spilled over into how they approach food and cook in their restaurants. The evening was greatly entertaining and insightful The book too, promises to be both.