The Brazilian chef, who put his home country of Brazil on the gastronomic global map by working with indigenous ingredients has three messages to share with the audience – the first one in “50 years”, the second was “cultural interpretation of flavour,” and the third was “Who we are”.
By “50 Years” Atala speaks about the amount of time that it takes to completely change the way we think about food and the world. When thinking about something as ‘contemporary’ we mean it happened in the last 50 years. He compares this to food. Fifty years ago we had a very different idea of what food could be today. What food will be in 50 years’ time Atala doesn’t know, but he says “I believe in human beings, I believe we are good”. It is an optimistic outlook that is very welcome in today’s dystopian world.
Atala believes that the innate goodness in humans should be put into the food of tomorrow. “Do not by serving, eating or cooking something that you don’t believe. Use your values as the main ingredient in the new kitchen”.
As consumers, we have the power to change the supply chain and empower communities. “Big companies are changing and trying to bring to us what we request as consumers, we have this power,” he says.
Cultural interpretation of flavour is a complex issue. What tastes delicious to one human can taste terrible for another. But by trying new things and crossing cultural barriers and mental blocks, simply by eating with people who are different to us, we can open up entire new worlds of flavour. “This is also a main ingredient for future food. Break the rules, push the boundaries, cross your mental blocks. There’s lots of good food we throw away.”
“Who we are,” for Atala means “We are just a tiny part of nature we are just a tiny part of the world and we must remain in it.”
He references Carlo Petrini the founder of the Slow Food Movement who said: “Cooking and eating are political acts”. Atala, with his ATA Foundation they have a mantra – knowledge – eating- cooking- producing- nature, together they form the food chain. All these steps along the food chain are broken, according to Atala, “We as chefs, we as humans, have the responsibility to repair this chain”.