#50BestTalks and Food Meets Art Kick off The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Bilbao

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants sponsored by S. Pellegrino and and Acqua Panna, in partnership with the Government of Biscay play host to the foodies of the world for a five-day celebration attended by world-leading chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, media and influencers.  Spain has long been a global leader in gastronomy and the Basque region, in particular, has an incredibly rich gastronomic culture. The area around Bilbao and San Sebastian is famous for its high concentration of outstanding restaurants, alongside its renowned pintxos bars, making it one of the world’s finest food destinations.

#50BestTalks, presented by Miele, took place last Sunday, 17 June at the Basque Culinary Center. The theme of the talks was ‘Life Cycle’ – an opportunity to explore the journey of food and restaurants fro creation through different stages of growth and reinvention towards ultimate consumption. Guest speakers provided their personal perspectives and use their unique experiences to present fresh ideas, discuss fundamental food issues and entertained the audience a long the way.

In the first session, GESTATION, had Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca, Eneko Atxa of Azurmendi and Gaggan Anand of Gaggan together with Nocolas Mounard, CEO of Farm Africa shared their initiatives to demonstrate how the gastronomic innovators can help transform the lives of the world’s rural food producers – aptly called Chefs for Change. Their aim is to build a network of chef ambassadors for agricultural development projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America – Farm Africa – the official charity of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants – has been helping farmers in Eastern Africa sine 1985.

Newly crowned elit Vodka World’s Best Female Chef, Clare Smyth, was next with BIRTH. She has recently opened her own restaurant – CORE by Clare Smyth – and shared some of her insights into the opening of her first restaurant. She also demonstrated a dish called Lamb Carrot and shared with the audience the brioche bun which is served with the dish.

Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns was next with BREEDING.  Chef Dan’s Row 7 Seed Co. has recently been launched, after 10 years in the making.  Its aim is to breed vegetables for taste and now provides a catalogue of seeds available for purchase, allowing consumers and chefs across the US to grow their own flavor-packed and nutritious butternut squash, potatoes, cucumber, chili peppers and beets.  All the members of the audience were given packets of Row 7’s Badger Flame Beets – described as all the vegetal sweetness of a beet without the polarizing earthiness.

UNDERSTANTING was next with Chef Paul Pairet of Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet in Shanghai.  Chef Paul gave the audience a taste (and glimpse) of a meal at Ultraviolet. He showed some of the reasons and inspiration behind some of his signature dishes, their presentation and their effect on diners.

And finally, Chef Christina Tosi of Milk Bar and Chef’s Table Pastry fame, rounded off the day with INDULGENCE.  Together with her live on-stage demo of her famous confetti cookie (which everyone in the audience got to taste), Christina shared about her past and how she grew her career and business to date, together with her food philosophy.

Monday, 18 June shifted venues to the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao where a pre-awards press conference was held. Speakers included Unai Rementeria, president of the government of Bizkaia, Charles Reed, Group Managing Director of William Reed, which owns The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Chef Ana Roš, 2017 World’s Best Female Chef, and local food hero chef Eneko Atxa of Azurmendi.

Then FOOD MEETS ART presented by S. Pellegrino was launched.  This discussion centered on how the culinary world and the art world collide to enhance creativity.  The discussion had famous chefs Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana in Modena Italy and the enigmatic Alain Passard of Paris restaurant Arpége going toe-to-toe with artistic bigwigs Giulio Cappellini art director and designer of the Cappellini brand and Joana Vasconcelos, a Portuguese artist – who was the first woman and the youngest artist to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles in 2012.

Marta Arzak of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao moderated the discussion.  Marta said: “There has always been a dialogue or ‘flirtation’ between food and art. Today it is articulated in a new, symbolic relationship between art, food and cooking brought about by major social and political changes. Undeniably, some chefs have artistic personalities and some artists have incorporated food in a variety of ways. The parallels can be drawn between cooking and artistic practices and analogies can be found in their creative and working processes.”

The event closed with a lunch prepared by Chef Josean Alija of Nerua Guggenheim Bilbao.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards will be given out on Tuesday, 19 June at Bilbao’s imposing  Euskalduna Palace and includes a glamorous red-carpet reception and post-awards celebration party.

Unai Rementeria, President of the Government of Biscay, says: “It is a pleasure and a privilege for Bizkaia to host a gastronomic event of such international prestige. We are excited and working hard to make this edition of The World’s Best Restaurants unique and unforgettable. We guarantee all visitors that they will feel at home among us; we are a small territory in which, apart from pleasure, gastronomy is culture. Basque cuisine is a mirror of our values as a country: it is a mixture of tradition, respect and quality. We are looking forward to receiving you.”

FoodieS will be covering the Awards life so watch out for our posts on social media and here on foodies.id.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

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Written by FoodieS Photographs by The World's 50 Best Restaurants June 19, 2018.

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