The Scandinavians, the women, and the dust
Chefs such as Rene Redzepi and Mathias Dahlgren have brought modernity to Scandinavian dining. High-end northern European restaurants have traditionally relied on the southern standards: Italian and French dishes. But these chefs are doing haute luxury Scandinavian food, like mayonnaise infused with smoked salmon accompanied by pickled beets, cucumber water–infused egg whites, and salmon roe.
Profusion of the X Chromosome
Women have been so noticeably absent from past conferences that it was starting to seem—at least to Americans—as if avant-garde cooking were a male-only venture. This year more than made up for it though, with María José San Román, María Carmen Vélez, Carme Ruscalleda, Keiko Nagae, and Montse Estruch presenting and cooking for the press dinners.
No groundbreaking technology this year, but techniques and gadgets of years past asserted their staying power. The sweetheart tools of the high-end kitchen such as microwaves, dehydrators, and vacuums are being used as commonly as pots and pans. As for techniques, all the -tions—gelification, encapsulation, and dehydration—are still going strong.
Soon after the dehydrator entered the molecular-gastronomic kitchen, chefs started making dusts by dehydrating foods such as peppers and crumbling them into something resembling beach sand that provided a punch of flavor and texture. Chef Arzak whipped olive oil and tapioca pudding into a powdery dust that he served with lobster, while his friend Subijana presented cast iron salt-cooked scallops on a bed of red, yellow, and green pepper dust.