The first day of Chefs (R)evolution in Zwolle, Netherlands was a huge success. Presentations by some of the world’s top chefs including Massimo Bottura, Jonnie Boer, Richard Ekkebus, Tim Raue and Dave Beran were incredibly well received by a very attentive audience.
Bottura, the renowned Italian chef of Osteria Francescana stole the limelight with a passionate one hour presentation on fostering creativity. Aimed mainly at young chefs, many of whom were in the audience, he spoke of the importance of following one’s passion, of being oneself and of being authentic. His rallying call, which was welcomed by the audience and which drew huge applause was “Study, read, follow your interest whatever this may be.” Taking inspiration from music and contemporary art, Massimo Bottura announced that he would be working at the Milan Expo to raise awareness about global food waste.
Boer spoke about the importance of producers. “Chefs are always in the limelight but it is the producers and the products that they provide that create a dish,” he said. The Dutch chef, who organised the event together with his wife Therese spoke about how he took tulip bulbs, a staple food which the Dutch ate during the war and turned it into something edible and interesting. “Our aim is to get something which normally doesn’t taste good to be good,” he said. This is the De Librije spirit, which is to create something even if it might not be right.
Ekkebus of Amber in Hong Kong spoke about what led him the the Chinese city adding that what inspires his cooking philosophy is exceptional ingredients.
German Tim Raue gave a passionate presentation about his philosophy of food. He said that it has taken him nearly seven years to find himself in the plate. “The question I have been asking myself is what I like? I need lots of flavours, sweetness, spicy, acidity. I can now say that I have found the right balance,” said the chef who cooked his signature meatballs dish for President Obama recently.
American chef Dave Beran spoke about the concept behind Next, a restaurant in Chicago which changes theme and menu every three months. The main innovation behind Next is that it is very much like booking a seat in a theatre or for a sporting event. You pay in advance and you lose your money if you do not turn up. The concept has worked so far and according to Beran, it has enabled the restaurant to pay its suppliers in advance which is beneficial to everyone including the suppliers and the clients who get the best possible produce.
Chefs (r)evolution continues on Monday, September 15 with live cooking demonstrations from more chefs including Rene Redzepi, Grant Achatz and Quique Dacosta among others.
Read more about Chefs (r)evolution in the coming days with features on each chef that took part in the Dutch Avant Garde Cuisine festival.