Highlights from Food on the Edge 2018

Highlights from Food on the Edge 2018

Food on the Edge is a symposium that takes place in Ireland every autumn. Chefs and foodies from across the world come together here for two days to talk about the future of food and gastronomy. During the symposium, participants are also introduced to the impressive culinary heritage of Ireland. Feel like you missed out? Well, you definitely have! But don't worry, we'll tell you all about it in this blog. 

50 speakers were invited to present talks this year, including some of the best chefs in the world. Each of the speakers presented their vision for gastronomy in fifteen minutes. Common themes included mental health, interaction in the kitchen, waste, and our changing food systems. We've singled out a few of the talks that we thought you might like.

Opening an underwater restaurant
Norwegian chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard is fascinated by everything the sea has to offer. In March 2019, he will open a restaurant submerged 5.5 metres under water with a panoramic view of the ocean floor for you to enjoy while you eat. The menu features exquisite fish varieties, molluscs, shellfish and crustaceans, and sea vegetables.

100% vegetarian cuisine
Paul Ivic always used to focus on margins and keeping purchasing costs low. A few years ago, he decided to dramatically change course and do something that made him truly happy: cooking vegetarian cuisine. He does not want to preach to the guests in his restaurant Tian in Vienna, but rather wants to show them that vegetarian food can be sexy, can be pleasurable, and that meat and fish are not essential ingredients on a plate. 

Three-star self-reflection
Albert Adrià and his brother revolutionised gastronomy. In his talk, he critically evaluates his own perception of ingredients. Now, more than ever, he has become aware of issues such as waste and overfishing. He therefore carefully considers each ingredient to see how he can use all - and he means all - parts of it for the dishes served in his six restaurants in Barcelona.  

You can't make it without a good team
After many years of experience working in restaurants across the world, Will Goldfarb decided to open a dessert restaurant on Bali. He is very aware of the importance of the support of a good team and during his talk he presented an ode to his local staff.

Goat is back on the menu
While goat's cheese is a popular ingredient, what actually happens to all those billy goats who serve no real purpose in the dairy industry? Unfortunately, the billy goats are destroyed even though the meat is a wonderful ingredient to use! British chef James Whetlor is taking up the cause for the revival of goat meat and we support him 100%!

Dreary meals in institutions: it doesn't have to be this way!
Joshna Maharaj is a Canadian chef who has proven that hospital food doesn't have to be dreary. She created a new model that moved away from simply assembling and warming up a meal toward meals cooked with fresh ingredients.

Publicity can make you or it can break you
Jeremy and Iré decided to open a restaurant in the centre of London. Their kitchen uses typical West-African ingredients, but they never claimed to be an African restaurant. However, this was how the press interpreted it, and suddenly their restaurant was filled with people expecting traditional African dishes who were not impressed with the modern cuisine they were served. This demonstrates that not all publicity is good publicity. Luckily, their restaurant, Ikoyi, recovered from this incident and was even awarded a Michelin star.

Undervaluing the importance of service
While the relationship between the kitchen and service is certainly interesting, it doesn't always run smoothly. Didier Fertilati, restaurant manager at Quique Dacosta restaurant, believes that it is time to start appreciating the value of good service. While chefs are generally the heroes, a restaurant will never excel without excellent service.

Zero-tolerance for swearing in the kitchen
Emma Bengtsson learned that being a chef was hard and discriminating. After her experience with this common practice in various kitchens, she decided to do things differently. Emma is living proof that you can change the culture in the kitchen if you really want to. Swearing is not allowed in her restaurant Aquavit** and silence reigns during service while working hours are strictly adhered to.

In addition to the speakers mentioned above, a number of our own guest chefs also graced the stage including Nathan OutlawSasu LaukkonenMatt OrlandoDouglas McMasterDanni BarryJP McMahon, and Nicolai Nørregaard.

Food on the Edge is a unique symposium where sharing knowledge and experience is a key theme. At no other event are the speakers so open about and willing to share their vision and each speaker motivates you to think deeper. If you want to be part of this symposium in 2019, visit the website of Food on the Edge where more information about the next edition will be published soon.