Wednesday, September 22, 2010

International Chefs Congress 2010

Cheryl from Montreal's Toque! prepares fish.

I'm in New York City, amidst the gridlock that accompanies the General Session of the United Nations General Assembly to attend the annual Star Chefs International Chefs Congress - a three day event of all things cuisine. This is my second year attending and it's just like last year: a bit of a pain in the butt because of the odd logistics but a conference jam-packed with knowledgeable chefs that it's all worthwhile.

The sessions range from panel discussions to culinary demonstrations to world-class chefs simply showing videos. The approach and techniques presented are wide and varied and I'm learning a lot. On the other side of the stage, the show floor displays the latest and greatest in equipment and I'm still in serious need of a custom Randell refrigeration setup, and an Irinox Blast Chiller, more Polyscience immersion circulators, a Winston C-Vap, and a convection oven from Waring would be nice too.

Dan Barber's Charcoal.

Also on the show floor are tastings of nearly everything from seafood to meats to cheese and cocktails and wine. There's even free beer from Stella Artois. All of this means that you can spend three days hovering over inebriation, eating samples of Australian wagyu beef, Canadian pork and New Zealand oysters while trying to digest what Keller is saying about craft over cuisine.

Chefs are everywhere. From the famous to the notorious to the tv chefs to the yet to be known. I sit next to Jay Santos from Hell's Kitchen and get some questions answered on how long it takes to shoot the show (two months) and when they shot the show (nearly two years ago). I see old friends on both sides of the trade show and even get a moment to meet Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater fame. Eggbeater is a blog I've been following for some time now and Shuna writes clearly and concisely about the craft of cooking, the professionalism of cooking and has tremendous thoughts to offer. I highly recommend reading her blog as a "must read" for any culinary professional.

Jordan Kahn discusses (sort of) his creations.

All in all, a great time with so much information to digest that it takes me a couple of weeks to synthesize it all into something coherent.

But I'll be here next year for sure.

The Brothers Voltaggio square off with "Tongue and Cheek"

El Bulli's Albert Adria...

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