Jan 30 2024

Madrid Fusión: The Past, Present, and Future of Gastronomy

The 22nd edition of this event, which is one of the most important in the world, firmly puts Spanish cuisine in the spotlight and features more activities than ever before

"Where it all begins" is the 2024 edition theme that Madrid Fusión Alimentos de España wanted to use to highlights its position as the origin and starting point of innovation and gastronomic trends. This event, showcasing the best Spanish and international cuisine and its most ambitious edition to date, kicked off yesterday. In the main auditorium, two new events are joining Madrid Fusión The Wine Edition Wines from Spain and Madrid Fusión Pastry: Madrid Fusión Dreams #spainfoodtechnation and Madrid Fusión Drinks.

The topics on the first day connected fundamental points with history and its processes as a common denominator. It was visible in the morning at the exciting first presentation at the wine conference The Wine Edition Wines from Spain. Former sommelier from elBulli, Ferran Centelles, and chef Carlos Casillas (1 Michelin star, Barro, Ávila), traveled the Vía de la Plata, which connects the country from south to north, hand-in-hand with five winemakers with groundbreaking projects in DO Lebrija (Andalusia), VT Tierra de Extremadura, VT Vinos de Castilla y León, PGI Castilla y León, and DO Cangas (Asturias), with their respective pairings prepared by Casillas and his team. And they did it from a historical perspective, linking each stage of the journey with a moment in Spanish history. Drinking history, but with new projects on the horizon. "Wines that are true gems," says Centelles.

"That same connection with the past was recreated in the auditorium by one of the most eagerly-anticipated chefs, Paco Morales, who helms Noor restaurant (Córdoba, Andalusia). He kicked off 2024 with his third Michelin star. In his presentation, Morales talked about his reinterpretation of the cuisine from Spain's Golden Age, the historical period to which he has devoted the eighth season of his restaurant. And he did it by setting up a table on stage and eating his own dishes. "I love dreaming about food," he said. What happens in this 3-Michelin-star restaurant could be defined as edible history, an exciting journey through the story of his native Andalusia that began in 2016 with a focus on 10th century cuisine, and onwards.

More traces of history were visible in the presentations of other chefs such as Santi Taura, chef at Michelin-starred DINS Santi Taura (Palma de Mallorca), who taught attendees how to bring ancient recipes to the present day through reinterpretation.

Present Perfect

There were also presentations by chefs who talked about their current creative process. That was the case of Oriol Castro, Mateu Casañas, and Eduard Xatruch, the trio behind Disfrutar (3 Michelin stars, Barcelona), who showed all of their innovative work over the past year.

There were also important chefs presenting outside the auditorium. In the MF Pastry space, which is dedicated to sweet creations, Jordi Roca spoke about the bean-to-tablet project underway at Casa Cacao (Girona). And one of the classic elements of this event was also held: the championship for best Iberico ham croquette, won by Carlos Griffo, chef at Quinqué (Madrid).

Dreams #spainfoodtechnation: from the past to the future

This 22nd edition of Madrid Fusión also welcomed a new space, Dreams #spainfoodtechnation, which looks at the future of food from the perspective of science and the foodtech ecosystem. On the first day, climate-smart crops were addressed; the company Cocuus, which develops plant- and cell-based animal protein analogues through biosynthesis, demonstrated its technology; and participants talked about what the restaurant of the future will be like, among other topics

One of the star speakers in this new space was Eneko Atxa (Azurmendi restaurant, 3 Michelin stars, Larrabetzu, Vizcaya), in a presentation shared with Silicon Valley-based physicist Eneko Axpe, in which they explained how they experiment with recipe creation based on artificial intelligence. According to Atxa, AI allows him to "adapt recipes to certain allergies and intolerances, and to substitute ingredients for others that are more sustainable."

The first afternoon session in this new space brought with it discussions about the waitstaff in restaurants and what is expected of restaurants of the future. Ferran Adrià attended both of them, sitting with the audience. Adrià did not hesitate to give his blessing to this new space, in which the hustle and bustle of the kitchen is transformed into a lively exchange of points of view.