A crowd of around 2,000 people packed into the stadium venue to hear a talk between Grant Achatz, Daniel Humm, Will Guidara, Gaggan Anand and Jordi Roca.
The talks touched on a number of different themes but as the S.Pellegrino Young Chef winners Mitch Lienhard and Mark Moriarty were in the crowd, our focus centred on the issue of mentorship.
"I think the idea of mentoring has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. The environment in which we cook in, our restaurants, just the overall atmosphere. I think as a generalisation the industry is becoming far more professional, and we talk about a responsibility to teach and create this environment that is conducive for professionalism and growth. I think we’ve all seen that really ramp up."
"I’m probably the oldest guy in the restaurant, everybody is middle 30 and some are really young. We chefs have the responsibility to bring talent, promote them, give them the confidence and to nourish them. This is what we have done, we have learnt from people around us as chefs. Today you see this 20 year old kid who comes and tells you, ‘chef I don’t think this is correct, I think this could be better’ and he’s right, at some point he’s right. We can’t be egotistical, ignore and be an idea killer - we have to nurture the idea and create something out of it."
"I think people believe much more in collaboration all around. I grew up in kitchens in Europe where it was motivation by fear. You work your way up, all the way to Sous Chef or Chef de Cuisine and still you have no influence on the food, your opinion doesn’t matter. You’re just there to execute, and I think that is maybe why there was a time where cuisine was not evolving, I think in the last 10 years cuisine has evolved in such a dramatic way and I think (it's) because chefs have changed the way they create. They started to realise there’s 30-40 chefs with them who have their own upbringings, their own experiences, own techniques, their own ideas. I think the challenging thing, with this collaboration, is to still have your very own unique style because at the end of the day, if I go eat at Alinea, I want to eat Grant Achatz’s food. In some ways I feel that we are very much part of the creative process, the ideas, but then so many people get to speak into it - in the end we almost become like the editors in making sure it really has that unique Eleven Madison Park feel to it.
The 2015 S.Pellegrino Young Chef winner, Mark Moriarty, stood up in the audience to chat with the chefs on stage. He spoke about his own experience in the competition and how it was the first chance for him as a young chef to put his own name on the line. He also spoke about how unique an experience it was for him to present his food to some of the world’s best chefs.
Dal is one of those recipes that goes all the way back to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Unlike dishes such as biryani, brought to India by the Moghuls, it is one of those foods that has always been there. It is therefore a building block of Indian culture.