The week that was (8 December 2016)

There were a number of articles that intrigued me this week, all written with a similar theme at their core; specifically, the positive impact a multi-disciplinary approach to food can have and how that can be used to make serious waves further afield (yes, yes, collaboration).

- Eater summed it up neatly while looking at the work of Dan Barber: “How is it that artists and craftsmen can most profoundly affect culture? They master their chosen medium, and then they push themselves past its established wisdom to something new and immediate. They express the stuff of life in audacious ways that stir the imagination, provoking reaction and emotion. Miles Davis broke open new jazz vistas by relentlessly experimenting with other modern musical styles. Allen Ginsberg wrote "Howl" in a dialect borne from the soul-wrenching insufficiencies of traditional poetic syntax. Zaha Hadid defied staid architecture critics to design buildings around the globe that hurtled forward our ideas about structural fluidity and geometry.”

- And so, we have Barber "a prophet of the soil, working obsessively not only with regional growers but with animal and vegetable breeders, all of them devoted equally to sustainability, land preservation, and the pursuit of superior flavor." 
- And Alex Atala, here talking to Letho about his Amazonian mission and ATA Foundation, with their efforts largely focussed on helping Brazilian communities bring the native ingredients of the Amazonas to market (he also talks about how we can draw from that here in Oz). “I feel we have a deeper research into our own ingredients and through our ingredients helping local people ... achieved a collaboration with disciplines — sociologists, psychologists — they are super important for our relationship with the local people. So it is deeper because it’s not just chefs trying to do it …"  They now have a market in Sao Paolo devoted to the endeavour.
- In the UK Heston's pushing his new menu with the help of an evolutionary geneticist, anthropologist, cosmologist and a professor of touch … but, perhaps more importantly, within that article I found mention of his work over recent years to help create a new home economics curriculum for British school kids: “Cooking and eating – it’s the only thing you can apply to all the main subjects across the curriculum.” It was put into play this year.

- Rene’s also on the education train – Noma Mexico will be doing free lunches for Mexican culinary students for the final two weeks, and then setting up a culinary scholarship in Copenhagen for Mexican students post pop-up.

In fact, Rene’s been “spilling the beans” (lol) on his Mexico pop-up all over the joint. In his convo with Jill, I liked: “Everything in Japan was eaten with tiny sticks of wood, you never touch anything. In Mexico, you touch everything, you put your hand in it and on it, and eat with your hands.” And this from his convo with David Prior: “Here, people eat tortillas no matter who they are and what they have. I think it’s a mark of a real cuisine and a democratic one.” 

- If you want to see collaboration at play in Australia, check out the delicious line up (across the board) for the Adelaide Festival. There's a series of long lunches to be prepared by great Adelaide chefs (Firla, Manfield, Best, Kerry, Liew, Ryan) chosen by Gill Minervini in collab with Duncan Welgemoed, all designed to celebrate the '80s (think Possums, Petaluma, Uraidla Aristologist, Neddy’s). “Adelaide really kick started as a culinary crucible in the 1980s, with such creativity and experimentation across the city, it was a really exciting and really dynamic time ...” (Minervin). It did. I think it’s doing it again now … particularly when you look at their wine scene. It’s no secret I have been flirting with Adelaide of late and this, ladies and gents, is why.

- If you’re not in Adelaide next March, you might consider Tassie. Alain Passard is, as is Dominique Crenn, as is Christian Puglisi. Delightfully they are there thanks to Christopher McGimpsey, the tourism and hospitality school's education manager of TasTAFE (and an alumnus of restaurants including Est Est Est and Jacques Reymond). More details in GT. Tix to the dinners they will each be hosting on the apple isle will be on sale tomorrow … here.

- In the spirit of a good collab, let's bring all this together: see Shewry on the future for Australian bread, see Barber above on the importance of wheat, see Atala on encouraging indigenous ingredients, see Heston and McGimpsey on educating ... and then check out the Gurandgu Munjie Pozible Campaign. It's got it all. Get in.