Rupert Parker joins this annual event featuring chefs from all over the world.
For 21 years Madrid Fusion has been the most important event in the international gourmet calendar and 2023’s theme is “No Limits” featuring chefs from Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Faroe Islands, Britain and other countries and. of course, Spain. Three stages host an uninterrupted series of demonstrations and presentations about haute cuisine. There are also separately Madrid Fusion Pastry and Madrid Fusion Wine. It’s a packed three days and here are some of the stars.
Japanese sushi man Takayoshi Watanabe has turned the art of cutting up fish into a flashy piece of performance. He says “The world of sushi is like the world of show business” and he’s turned it into a genuine art form. His secret lies in a great knife, fantastic ingredients and fine-tuned chef’s eyes. On stage he demonstrates with a knife the size of a Japanese sword and gets the entire audience involved in a “sushi wave”.
With three Michelin stars, Spaniard Ángel León always produces surprises. This time he uses the bits of fish normally thrown away to make desserts. Sea bass, moray eel, bream and bluegill skins are transformed into sweet wafers. Red mullet scales are the basis of a frozen sponge and the “puntillita” sections of baby squid are employed in a croissant dough. His most startling achievement is popcorn made out of fish eyes.
Poul Andrias Ziska cooks at the world’s most isolated Michelin-starred restaurants, with the original in the Faroe Islands, and also temporally relocating to Greenland from June. He plucks his shellfish from the freezing water of the Arctic and 20 minutes later they’re on plate. He works with other local produce including whale, sole, algae, Arctic snow crab, muskox, and a wide variety of herbs and berries. Using fermentation and bottling processes he prolongs their lifespan until the snow recedes.
In Quito, Alejandro Chamorro sources produce from sea, jungle and mountains to make imaginative use of his country’s diverse gastronomic culture. He’s earned the accolade of the first Ecuadorean restaurant to feature on the prestigious list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. But this is no peasant cuisine, rather he deploys techniques he learned in Europe to create a unique culinary identity for Ecuador.
James Knappett opened The Kitchen Table in London in 2012, earned a Michelin star in 2014, and then a coveted second star in 2018. Just 19 customers sit at a horseshoe-shaped counter watching James and his crew making the food, like a piece of kitchen theatre. He sources the best local ingredients for his multi-course tasting menu and explains where they come from as he and his team work in front of the diners.
Born in the Congo, Dieuveil Malonga is one of the senior exponents of Afro-fusion cuisine, a subtle mélange of tradition and modernity, a culinary bridge between African flavours and Western cooking. His ambition is to take old recipes and forgotten produce and give them a new life. His 10-course seasonal menu in Kigali plays with the flavours of Rwanda’s dozen bean varieties, and find new uses for traditional ingredients such as plantain and cassava.
With three Michelin stars Spaniard Dabiz Muñoz’s incredible dishes are hard to label. His two tasting menus are made of lienzos (canvases), and aspire to be authentic works of art on your table. The waiters bring the food out in stages, served on a smooth, white ceramic plates, allowing the diner to feel as if they´re tasting an actual painting. The chef’s cuisine is ‘complete, honest, and without distractions. At Madrid Fusion he demonstrates how he uses over one hundred ingredients to produce four dishes.
This is just a small selection of the many chefs who appeared at the three day event.
Restaurants and chefs featured:
Takayoshi Watanabe – Teruzushi, Tobata, Japan
Ángel León – Aponiente, El Puerto de Santa María, Spain
Poul Andrias Ziska – Koks, Faroe Islands
Alejandro Chamorro – Nuema, Quito, Ecuador
James Knappett – Kitchen Table, London
Dieuveil Malonga – Meza Malonga, Kigali, Rwanda
Dabiz Muñoz – DiverXO, Madrid Spain
The next Madrid Fusion will take place in January 2024
Iberia flies direct to Madrid from London Heathrow.
Hotel NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding makes a comfortable base a short metro ride away from the event.
Welcome to Madrid has information about the city.
Spain Info has information about the country.