Since the Gelinaz! shuffle was announced there was a lot of buzz surrounding the event, particularly on social media even if there were some who said they did not know the details behind the event.
Many could have been sceptical that the event would be a success and few would have thought that the organisers would be able to keep the secret destinations of the chefs till the last minute. The aim was to have 37 chefs shuffle to other restaurants and cook in different time zones in a span of 23 hours on 9 July 2015. These chefs left the comfort of their homes and kitchens and went to other restaurants around the world.
For example, Ben Shewry from Australia was cooking in Dranouter, Belgium, Massimo Bottura from Modena, Italy was cooking in New York and Fulvio Pierangelini, one of the founders of Gelinaz! was in Istanbul to give a few examples
The fact that the identity of the chefs cooking in these restaurants was kept secret till the very last minute was an amazing feat in this day and age of instant communication.
What we could observe was a textbook case of how social media should be used. Gelinaz! made good use of social media tools like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, a great website and excellent imagery making it a joy to follow.
The posters and videos had a certain vibe to them, similar to the event that they were portraying.
What really worked in creating the buzz was the fact that the destination of each of the chefs was kept secret till the very last moments. There were some hints but not enough to ruin the surprise for guests or those who were curious to know which chef was cooking where.
It is not normal that 37 chefs leave their restaurants in the hands of colleagues for a service with a difference. But the Gelinaz! have been known for their innovative ideas and bold approaches such as when they visited Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana without letting him know or when they took over Wylie Dufresne’s restaurant after carrying out all the food preparation in a makeshift kitchen.
The events over the years have become bolder. The shuffle was probably the the hardest one to implement but one which worked perfectly in the end.
Knowing the history of the Gelinaz! we doubt they would try another Shuffle though there is no stopping the organisers and collective of chefs trying something more daring next time.
What they have announced yesterday, albeit cryptically, is that Gelinaz! plays Istanbul on 11th May 2016. We will still need to wait for what they have in mind for next year. Pierangelini was cooking at Mikla in Istanbul yesterday.
But back to social media and how Gelinaz! worked to generate buzz. They announced the event a few months before and said the tickets would go on sale two months before the event. This way they got the media to write about the event twice.
A few weeks before the event, they started to tease people on social media by tagging different chefs and asking where they would be going. The chefs played along till the very end.
Not all chefs are social media friendly, some are not on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram so the organisers, Andrea Petrini and Alexandra Swenden prepared a list of ambassadors that would follow each visiting chef in the restaurant. The ambassador’s job was that of following the chef, giving snippets of information before the event and also during the dinner. In this way, people got to know what was happening in real-time.
Gelinaz! was extremely active on all social media fronts and were constantly updating their website with news of what was going on in each restaurant. Each restaurant had a page on the Gelinaz! Reschuffle page with constant updates being placed there. There was good use of text, photos and videos and information on the restaurant and the chef that was visiting.
All in all, there were a lot of lessons one could draw from the event. The Gelinaz! crowd are on to something. Let’s hope that the creators will come up with many more bold ideas.
This is the list of chefs that took part in the Gelinaz! Shuffle.
Albert Adria, Danny Bowien, Blaine Wetzel, Jock Zonfrillo, Riccardo Camanini, Fulvio Pierangelini, Inaki Aizpitarte, Davide Scabin, Massimiliano Alajmo, Claude Bosi, Sean Gray, Magnus Nilsson, Colombe Saint-Pierre, Bertrand Grebaut, Rene Redzepi, Ben Shewry, Alexandre Gauthier, Paul Cunningham, Ana Ros, Kobe Desramaults, Alain Ducasse, Yannick Alleno, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Virgilio Martinez, Mauro Colagreco, Dominique Crenn, Sean Brock, Rodolfo Guzman, Daniel Patterson, Andoni Luiz Aduriz, David Thompson, Mehmet Gurs. Alex Atala, Massimo Bottura, Carlo Mirarchi, David Kinchi, Petter Nilsson.
Gelinaz! is a collective of international chefs. It is a group that was created by Andrea Petrini and one of Italy’s best chefs Fulvio Pierangelini. (You can read about his story here). Pierangelini is an exceptional chef who did not necessarily like the way the culinary world was heading toward in the early 2000s.