The 9 most inspirational talks at Food On The Edge 2019
This year saw our 4th outing to Galway, Ireland, for Food on the Edge – the most inspirational annual food symposium. Around 50 international speakers took to the stage to discuss the future of our food. This blog highlights the 9 most inspiring talks!
#1 The future of sustainable living
Matt Stone has been working with the Dutch zero-waste living designer Joost Bakker in Australia. After successfully managing a number of pop-ups and a restaurant that is performing well in Perth, Matt decided to adopt a broader view on sustainable living. Together with his partner Jo, Matt will open a pop-up house that shows how people can live an entirely sustainable way. The house is the size of one intermodal container. All materials used in its construction are sustainable, and even toilet waste is converted into energy. This small, extremely practical house can be self-sustaining. Isn't that amazing? Nothing is impossible...
#2 A whole world beyond fillets
Prawn crackers made with fish eyes and single origin garum. These are two examples of preparations created by the Australian chef Josh Niland, who views fish as a butcher views meat. Did you know that we only eat an average of 48% of each fish consumed? Josh created the Fish Butchery, a unique concept, which makes it possible to use 91% (!) of a fish. His approach to preparing fish is like that of a butcher: dividing it into cuts and using all of the offal. If you’d like to know more about this, then visit his website.
#3 You don't need to work yourself to death
Is the life of a chef comprised of moments with family and friends that they could not attend and a lack of spare time? During the previous eight years, journalist Ryan King has interviewed hundreds of chefs – including for websites such as FineDiningLovers.com. Ryan says that chefs still have to make many sacrifices to pursue their constant quest for innovation and creativity. Sometimes they have to sacrifice so much that it takes its toll on them. Ryan ends his speech by telling Sean Brock’s story, which is definitely worth a read.
#4 You have to watch this Canadian series!
We have probably all watched Chef's Table as well as many other fantastic documentaries on the topic of food on Netflix. During the symposium, we discovered the next series that deserves the binge-watching treatment. Director Kevin Kossowan is about to release the fourth season of From The Wild – a Canadian-based culinary exploration of the great outdoors. We suggest you watch the trailer rather than just taking our word for it!
#5 What use is a chef’s training programme to a vegan?
Berlin-based Sophia Hoffmann is a chef and cookbook author who is taking a stand for sustainability, protecting the environment, feminism. Her circular cooking Isla Coffee reduces waste in a practical, measurable way. Sophia considers herself 90% vegan, which is why she did not follow a chef's training programme. Existing training programmes focus primarily on techniques concerning meat and fish. She says that she is never going to work with these products, so what would be the point of having to learn how to prepare them? We consider this an interesting thought. What are your thoughts on this topic? For example, should there be a separate chef's training programme for vegan chefs?
#6 Don't eat food that you don't 'believe'
Chef and owner of D.O.M., Alex Atala, is a big name with an impressive story. D.O.M. is a restaurant in Brazil that is famous because of its innovative cuisine in which mainly Brazilian ingredients are used. Alex gave a speech on eating 'real' food and making the right choices when doing so. Chefs have an educational role that is often greater than they think, because they can help consumers change their views and choices regarding food in a step-by-step way. His advice is: do not wait until big companies make changes to save our environment; start the change yourself!
#7 Shut up and listen
Ben Shewry campaigns to encourage cooking that acknowledges and respects indigenous cuisines, particularly that of Aboriginals in his case. In 2005, he opened the Attica restaurant and further explored Australian cuisine in the years that followed. He thought he knew all about it, but was surprised to find he had a lot to learn. Making assumptions about cultural cuisine can frequently trip you up. If you want to discover the truth, you need to commit to looking for the real stories. In short: you have to listen attentively without jumping to conclusions!
#8 Cook for others as opposed to for yourself
After years of working at the top, including working as the head chef of Noma, Dan Giusti is now successfully running his own company Brigaid. Previously, he focused on cooking for himself and for his own ego. Now he is cooking to make a difference. He does this on a large scale by feeding many people as often as possible. His company provides around 1.5 million school meals throughout the USA each day! Over the past few years, he has learned a lot by listening to students. Chefs generally think they know what people want and what is good for them, but are often confronted with evidence to the contrary.
#9 Responsible deliciousness
Matt Orlando and Kim Wejendorp can expertly transform leftovers back into basic products. This is the key to cooking more sustainably, while always focusing on deliciousness from the start. After all, it has to be effing good! Restaurant Amass and Broaden & Build brewery (in Copenhagen) collaborate to banish food waste to the past. On example of this is brownie loop imperial stout, that is brewed with cuttings from brownies that are served with the coffee at Amass? Kim says that there are three reasons to work towards zero-waste practices:
1) because you are a tree-hugging hipster;
2) because of the unparalleled flavour sensation;
3) because it saves money.
This means that there is no reason NOT to work towards zero-waste practices! If you need some inspiration that you can put into practice straight away, then have a look at these components.
Recurring themes this year included: migration and cultural cuisines, personal growth and mental health, zero-waste practices, and the changing food system. In addition to the speakers we noted above, a number of guest chefs attended including Will Goldfarb, Mark Best, Esben Holmboe Bang, Sasu Laukkonen, Douglas McMaster, Nicolai Nørregaard, and of course initiator JP McMahon.
Food on the Edge is a unique symposium where speakers and visitors are incredibly open about their visions for the future of our food. 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.