Madrid Fusión 2019: Spanish Chefs that Revalue The Products In the Kitchen
To provide the greatest well-being with their ingredients for its patrons, as well as narrate vineyard tales or stimulate the neuronal map, the haute cuisine chefs explore their surroundings
After the signature of each chef there is a search that goes beyond the visible and the savoured dishes. What remains of the exquisite dish is in your body and mind. That which is impossible to quantify, is ingrained in the passion of each cook. Some pursue the healthiest of foods. Others wish to provide an exquisite experience with every morsel. Although the goal of every chef is as diverse as the way he or she sprinkle salt, the great chefs of the open fires share something in common: they explore the environment to achieve their goals. A common characteristic that at the same time distances them as much as it distances them between its doors. In that unique search, each of them begins at the starting point, a way of calling on that accessible or sustainable cuisine, which has become one of the pillars of haute cuisine.
One of these dissimilar geographies is to be found in Cuenca's treasure map, where Jesús Segura, chef of the Trivio Restaurant, makes sure his dishes are almost medicinal. Always using ingredients of the region. From game to truffles, he goes beyond the palate in search of a wholesome cuisine. “It is not just a question of providing a menu that avoids excessively fatty ingredients in which taste lingers at the end of a meal,” says Segura from the podium of the Multipurpose Room of Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión. “We apply the methodology of observation. It is an exercise that we use among ourselves and with our clients. For example, we elaborate fermented acids, mushrooms, which are accentuated in our desserts. So that we achieve that final sensation of well-being, thanks to the ingestion of probiotics”.
Versatility of the earth
Dehydrated mushroom plasma, grape seed emulsion, mushroom umami, hare puree and stressed truffles to achieve more aroma, is offered by Trivio. Although the price of the truffle can reach 600 euros per kilo in full season, it is used in the cuisine of the region where it germinates. It has the flavour of its substrate. Who said that the truffle is expensive? Challenges chef Francisco de Gregorio of the Virrey Palafox Restaurant, from Soria, from the podium of his presentation at Madrid Fusión. A Specialist in pork, mushroom and truffle dishes, he wants to show that the cost of this intense flavour is relative as a few veins of truffle is enough to heighten the flavour of the dish.
In the middle of the auditorium he exhibits one of his best truffles and weighs it: 107 grams. He prepares five dishes, dessert included. A complete menu for one person, he clarifies. All with truffle combined with low-cost ingredients such as egg, fried bread, lean bacon, almond flour, onion, leek, ham, cheek, nose, ear, unsalted butter, potato, crayfish, sugar, some chocolate. The truffle is weighed again. It weighs 10 grams less. At the current price, the cost is six euros. "Since we spend money on the truffle, the other products are inexpensive," he reaffirms. "This menu with all the ingredients comes out at €15 full," says De Gregorio.
In contrast to the truffle with comparison to the price of the products of the land such as the potato, originally from Peru, and cultivated for the first time outside of America in Tenerife, from where it was exported the mainland and later renamed as the potato. There are 4,000 varieties, 3,000 of which are Peruvian and 150 are from the Canary Islands. With that mixed earth flavour, three chefs show the potato's versatility. Mitsuharo Tsumura, from Maido; Erlantz Gorostiza, of the MB restaurant; and Omar Malpartida, from the Luma Restaurant. They prepare humita (a variety of the Tamale) with boneless Cuy (guinea pig) confit, mixed with choclo (corn) ground by hand, soy, mashua and ponzu (Peruvian local ingredients). They use bark as well as starch. It replaces wheat. Even chopping it up in such a way that is resembles grains of rice or bread, "one of the varieties that they prefer," says Gorostiza. «Spongy, integrated with the dehydrated red mojo (hot sauce), spread on the bread».
Neuroscience in the pan
With dishes from "volcanic lands and of an Atlantic nature in their purest form", such as the mole (chocolate-based) palmero or "embarrado a la platanera" and ingredients such as the big-headed prawns or sea urchin tongues with a "brutal sea flavour", which come from the waters and the lands of the Canary Islands, and especially the Arona region, the chef Diego Schattenhofer, who runs the newly inaugurated 1973 restaurant, seeks to unravel why there are personal tastes. That mystery is hidden in the brain and solving it could offer each diner a personalized dish that provides him /her with maximum enjoyment.
Converted in some way into a neuroscience laboratory without losing its gastronomic essence, at 1973 it works in conjunction with a neuroscientist and a psychologist, who wish to establish similarities and differences "in the paths of sensorial activation between dishes of prototypical products from different regions". In Madrid Fusión, Schattenhofer talks about the 'pelado de papa antigua' dish, with gofio realera shavings, milk and wine and coriander pesto, which is eaten with a lapa (limpet) spoon, like the one found on the island, which was made 800 years ago. Or the 'mole mojo' (mole hot sauce), marinated for 24 hours and cooked in banana leaf for two days.
These flavours will assist them in advancing their scientific research. "With some people subjected to a sequence of magnetic resonances, while trying different foods, we will see which areas are activated and we will prepare a flavour route", explains the Gastrosinapsis team of the University of La Laguna on the first day of the 17th edition of the gastronomic festival workshop. "If the result is positive, we can carry out a comparison between subjects and regions."
Ice cream barrel
There are also inconceivable products from those regions. In La Rioja, there are the elements of the vineyard that are usually discarded, such as green grape vines, which are decay, the overripe and sweet grapes that are leftover, the residue that remains in the barrel -the lees- of the fermented white wine of the producer Abel Mendoza or the skins of a variety that were not cultivated for three decades and that Miguel Martínez has managed to recover ... All are used to make ice cream. "There is a certain pride related to working with this raw material, which is of great gastronomic value although it has no economic value", says Fernando Sáenz, head of the DellaSera workshop.
With these unique ice cream flavours, DellaSera pursues its own objective: “Our ice creams narrate the stories of small producers”. Stories of harvests and tradition, while reusing products from those lands. Even old barrels that are turned into tiny sticks that are frozen and are then hydrated. That “contaminated” water, in the words of Sáenz, can be used to make desserts. The final product of “walking through the territory, around the vineyards and wineries, the resources of flavour offered by the landscape and the world of wine”. From these "elements without economic value", for some 17 years, this workshop has been preparing the "frozen vineyard" of different flavours and textures.
Text: Doménico Chiappe.
Photos: @Madrid Fusión.