While chefs frantically chopped, sliced, diced and plated, and crowds of Norwegian vikings blew their horns in support of their team at the Bocus d’Or cooking competition, held last week in Lyon, a small group of food industry leaders, experts and chefs were meeting for The World Cuisine Summit.
The Summit was a one day event packed with talks on everything from the reduction of waste in the kitchen to the presentation of a unique project in Sweden that aims to produce high quality meat by controlling the entire supply chain. There were chefs from all over the world, including Grant Achatz and Thomas Keller who spoke about the rising strength of American cuisine before going back to support the American team competiting in the Bocuse d'Or.
Here’s a look at some of the key notes from The World Cuisine Summit 2015.
The tone was set immediately by Régina Tchelly, a chef who runs Favela Orgânica - a unique company that works to create organic gardens in the favelas of Brazil and teach people how to cook efficiently with little or no waste. The challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050 (also the theme of Expo Milan 2015) with more mouths and less food, was hammered home as Tchelly made wonderful dishes with pumpkin skins.
Robert Hund, President of the Manitowoc Food Service, used his time to present ten key trends emerging in the food industry and show how the design of new products and equipment for the kitchen are reflecting this. He highlighted the growth of ‘green cleaning’ - cleaning products made with natural, biodegradable ingredients and new equipment that is ‘consumer facing’ - cookers, washers and whole kitchen units designed to fit in with the increase in open plan kitchens as more and more consumers want to peer into the kitchen and see what’s happening.
Chef Gaston Acurio took to the stage to discuss the growing rise of ceviche restaurants across Peru and how it’s hard to keep up with the demand for fish that is created by this boom. The chef took the opportunity to talk about alternate ways to make the dish and presented a tasty ceviche that substituted fish with avocado. His message, like many of the speakers, was one of optimistic caution.
Swedish entrepreneur of the year 2014, Britt-Marie Stegs took spoke about the company she started 15-years-ago in an attempt to bring quality to meat to the people of Sweden. In her mission to bring the highest quality product Stegs has built Europe’s first ever mobile slaughter house. She presented the unique project and explained how controlling the entire process, induing the slaughter of animals, is one of the key ways to ensure the best quality.
Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa was also present, cooking on stage while he spoke about the work he does at his award winning restaurant in Tokyo. The chef spoke about his original quest to create a place that had soil so healthy and nutritious it was good enough to eat. He then spoke about how this led him to research the use of ash in cooking and how his most recent research has focused on clever uses for fermentation.
The whole event mixed the worlds of business and high-end cuisine with an overriding feeling that, in whatever sector, a focus on sustainability should be one of the driving factors for the future of the industry.