Santi Santamaría, Lorenzo Díaz and José Carlos Capell
The Journalist Lorenzo Díaz will moderate the debate, with both speakers participating in an in-depth discussion on the boom experienced by the recent haute cuisine that Spanish chefs are elaborating
Chef Santi Santamaría and the Gastronomic Critic José Carlos Capell, who in principle defend positions that are diametrically opposed, will attempt to reach some sort of a consensus at the 5th National Trade Fair on Wine, FENAVIN 2009, which is to take place from May 5th to the 7th at the Ciudad Real Trade Fair Pavilion.
Santi Santamaría, Master Chef known to all - seven stars shared out between his three establishments: ‘Racò de Can Fabes’, ‘Evo’ and ‘Sancelony’ - rocked the foundations of his guild when he published the book ‘La cocina al desnudo’ (The Kitchen Laid Bare) in May of 2008. As some have said, “the scandal arrived with him”, this given that in his work he attacks many of the usual practices that in the last decade have been taking place in the kitchens, elevating Spanish gastronomy to the highest level on a global scale.
The greatest criticisms made by Santamaría were aimed at the assortment of additives that proliferate in the dishes prepared by many restaurants, and that have given rise to the so-called ‘scientific cuisine’ or “molecular gastronomy’. However the chef also pointed out the exorbitant mediatization of his profession. As indicated by Lorenzo Díaz in his prolog to the book, “It is with humor that Santamaria takes a shot at the myths of the profession, denouncing that one of the greatest challenges faced by today’s chefs is to avoid becoming the court jesters of the snobs and the posh”.
The Catalan Chef also regrets the loss of traditional values, the gastronomic disorder where the type of life we are leading is taking us. As underlined by the Chef himself, “49% of Spanish housewives spend less than one hour a day cooking”, and, what is even worse, “40% don’t even enjoy cooking”.
In the mentioned prolog Lorenzo Díaz also writes that “someone said that the most outstanding cultural action that has taken place in the bosom of the Spanish society of the transition has been the revolution in the kitchens, turning the Spanish culinary undertaking into something universal”. Undoubtedly this is the positive side of the boom that recent Spanish gastronomy has experienced, with chefs of stature such as Adriá or Arzak who have taken their work and Spain’s image to the great temples of worldwide cuisine. José Carlos Capell – gastronomic critic for the daily newspaper El País, member of the Spanish Academy of Gastronomy and one of the most highly respected writers in the world of Spanish cuisine – will be in charge of making the many and important achievements of our country’s cuisine during the last few years more than manifest.
Díaz, proud Manchego, sociologist, journalist and habitual collaborator of Onda Cero, asserts that his role at this meeting will be that of the ‘bad guy’, of the ‘instigator’, moderating a debate at which sparks may just fly. The truth of the matter is that his role will be that of the ‘good guy’, this because the objective that is pursued is none other than to obtain a series of conclusions that can help minimize the quite probable excesses that have been committed, apart from emphasizing the important achievements that have been obtained. Ciudad Real and FENAVIN will be the privileged setting of this ‘Great Debate’ at the summit, representing a unique occasion that will undoubtedly attract the attention of all those interested in one of the phenomenons that in recent times have contributed the most to spreading Spain’s name throughout the world.