In Barcelona, 18 leaders from the world of gastronomy met for the first time
Last week the city of Barcelona was home to the third edition of The Best Chef Awards . For the third consecutive year, all the people who work hard every day in the world of gastronomy have been called together. The coveted first place winner was chef Björn Frantzén of the Frantzén restaurant, three Michelin stars in Stockholm, Sweden.
In addition to the Food Meets Science Conference and the gala evening , The Best Chef Awards organized the Area Talks panel in collaboration with So Wine So Food . This brand new event was launched for the first time on Tuesday 24 September and brought together 18 leaders from the food and wine scene!
The talks were organized into a series of discussions on current topics, as well as testimonials from chefs, experts and opinion leaders in the sector, who shared their experiences and ideas with the public. The discussion was moderated by the journalist Eleonora Cozzella and chef Jonathan Zandbergen . At the end of each block, there was room for questions and answers between the speakers and the audience.
Cristian Gadau , creative director of The Best Chef Awards , explained: “We created Area Talks to bring our community and the new generation of gourmets and chefs closer together by involving them in the program of the event of The Best Chef Awards. Topical discussions The arguments show that there is much more to gastronomy than bringing the perfect flavor to the perfect dish. With Area Talks , we want to shed light on the approach, the reasons and the pitfalls that make these great chefs and experts who they are “.
The first topic concerned work and the balance of life when running a high-end restaurant. The couple of chefs Pia Leon and Virgilio Martinezthey shared their personal experience by working together. In fact, Pia Leon has worked for more than 10 years in her husband’s Central restaurant in Lima. They said that working with the family has many advantages, such as knowing each other perfectly and a great level of trust. On the other hand, it is not easy to separate personal life from work when a couple works together. For the past 6 years, Pia has been in charge of the Central Restaurant kitchen and has been at Virgil’s side at every award ceremony that has rewarded her husband’s award-winning restaurant. And although Pia has learned a lot alongside her husband, she has decided to come out from behind the scenes of Central and freely express her ideas and style by creating something new.That’s why last year Pia decided to face a new challenge and open Kjolle in Lima, her restaurant. Both consider the decision very positive and now each of them has their own restaurant to express their own (unique) style.
After meeting Pia and Virgilio, the chef Christophe Hardiquestof the Bon Bon restaurant in Brussels, 2 Michelin stars, shared his experience at work and life balance. He talked about his life when his restaurant opened 7 days a week and how stressful the job was not only for him but for the whole team. In fact, Christophe was always busy in his restaurant, so he didn’t have much time for his personal life. That’s why he decided to open the restaurant only 4 days a week and spend more time with his wife and 3 children. He confessed that he was a little frightened at first because he didn’t know if his decision to close the restaurant all weekend (the busiest days!) Would affect his business. However, it only opened from Tuesday to Friday and closed from Saturday to Monday,and surprisingly the result was very positive. Today his restaurant is always full, his team is much more motivated and most important .. He spends more time with his family.
The second topic of Area Talks concerned tradition and innovation in gastronomy. Legendary chef Eckart Witzigmann shared his philosophy, explained how gastronomy has changed in the past 20 years and reminded us that “every future has an origin”. After Witzigmann’s speech, contemporary chef David Munozof the 3-star Michelin restaurant DiverXo in Madrid, he spoke of his contemporary gastronomy, his avant-garde philosophy and his obsession with making something unique. David also shared with us the story of how he started his career 20 years ago when, at the tender age of 12, he dreamed of having a restaurant like the one he has today. David believes that “every chef cooks his own background” and that is exactly what he does in his restaurant.
The next speakers were Thomas Buhner , chef of the ex La Vie, Henrique Sa Pessoa of Alma and Roberto Rossi of Il Silene. And they talked about entrepreneurship and alternative professional possibilities, as well as the work of Executive Chef in a restaurant. In addition to his work as a chef in the Alma restaurant, Henrique started appearing in a cooking show of a small television channel in Portugal, which gained a lot of popularity.
After the lunch break, the passion for food, wine and travel was the central topic: I took the floor as founder of Wineteller . I shared the story of how I got here from a financial background. While studying for a Master in Business Administration in Paris, I met a famous wine journalist who introduced me to the world of wine. So I decided to start my wine studies until I became an ALMA-AIS Master Sommelier and started sharing the stories behind each bottle of wine on social media. What started only because of the passion for telling stories about wine has become one of the largest communities in the world of wine.
The second foodies to speak was Kristian Thomsen Brask , who told us how he went from being a restaurant sommelier to becoming a reference point for Bon Vivant creating a truly unique food and wine tour concept. Kristian, in fact, organizes “Dining Impossible”, luxury food and wine events in a private jet around some of the most sought after restaurants in the world … The dream of every foodies!
The last intervention concerned the role of public relations and the importance of good communication in gastronomy. The speakers were Patricia Dias of the Chefs Agency, Floriano Pellegrino , Luigi Partipilo , Daniel Watkins , Sarah de Hondt and Gregoire Berger . And they discussed the importance of having an active presence on social media and public relations in the restaurant sector in order to build a business and establish a good relationship with customers.
In conclusion, Area Talks offered a unique behind-the-scenes vision of everyday life in the world of gastronomy. It was a great opportunity to hear the experiences and ideas of some leaders of this world. Everyone has different stories, backgrounds, styles and ideas. But what these stories have in common is the great passion for gastronomy and a great desire to express themselves by creating, interpreting, cooking and communicating its beauty.