Omnivore: Foodies’ GQ

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The crazy and curious die Annakonda is back for the 11th edition of Omnivore, the leading food festival around the world! A few numbers? 3 days of festival, 150 chefs, pastry cook, bartenders, …, 110 demos, 10 omnivore prices, 5 fucking dinners, 70 exhibitors, 2 pop-up dinners, 5 masterclass scenes. Revelation, novelties, unique meeting. My first time. I didn’t really know what to expect but believe me after three full days spent there, the festival is my first one but surely not the last one. Although you may wonder why this is coming up on the blog, you should know that gastronomy is art, art is creativity and in this case, it becomes luxury. How to match different savors, how to make it taste and look good, how to tell a story around the meal, how to find the perfect drink. The work is indeed tremendous and I show a lot of respect to all the chefs out there.

Let’s first begin with the different exhibitors. It is the occasion to discover original and new brands, innovation of older ones. For instance, Schweppes is already properly settled but it is coming with a brand new collection dedicated to cocktails. The barman made a few non-alcoholic cocktails that were very good and this is the proof that you don’t necessarily need alcohol to enjoy a drink! The freshness of the cucumber is always a good idea! Talking about ethanol, I discovered right after that a vodka named Mamont. I was directly attracted by the design of the bottle. Matte white, gold top, slightly slanting, in other words, luxurious. Its particularity? the texture, I wouldn’t know that I could say one day that a vodka could be smooth. Hard to believe but the liquid literally glides over the tongue… At the same time on the other side, my dear friends, the Sassy team, what could I say. Always a pleasure to see them. If you don’t know about Maison Sassy, you are missing something for sure. They are the one who changed the cider industry. Game is strong as others would like to copy them but you know, be first, be smarter or cheat, I’ll let you choose. We all know these old green-ish bottles of apple cider from the west coast of France and here they come with a new design, transparent, beer-like botte, sleek and young. Wait, am I missing something? and it tastes amazing – I have a crush for the pear one! On another floor it was set up with Mauviel – professional cooper and stainless-stell cookware, I though it was really beautiful this way with the cute little dish covers and pans.

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Moving on to other things, the cute macarons are from Frank Deville. They have a large choice from salty-sweet to sweet: foie gras, crayfish bisque, cumin carrot, fig onions, truffle or lychee rose, pear, hazelnut spread, strawberry mojito. Cool isn’t it? Now how about focusing on butter? No you haven’t read it wrong, I said butter. I didn’t know it could be so diverse but Le Beurre Bordier introduces the basic salty ones but also churned seaweed butter, espelette chili, lemon olive oil, yuzu, sweet Madagascar vanilla, the soon-available buckwheat one that is delicious. Among everything, the interesting thing is also to see some chef cooking right in front of you and being creative.

“I called the restaurant by my last name because I wanted it to be family-related” Giovanni Passerini

My favorite part, what actually made me come back everyday was the masterclasses. I couldn’t attend the five stages even if I wanted to. Nevertheless I will do my best next time! Scrolling down the program, my eyes were instantly attracted to some specific names. Weighing up the pros and cons, I wanted to discover the ‘scène salé’ in the huge amphitheater that welcomes very renowned chefs. Among them, I had the chance to watch a few performances, the funny Giovanni Passerini, the young Rafael Costa e Silva, the humble couple Xavier and Mika Pensec, the talented Sébastien Bras, the famous Thierry Marx, the lady Anne-Sophie Pic and… mister Paul Pairet. I would like to focus on chef Pairet for personal reasons. I have heard of his project since the beginning. That means I was only 17 and already impressed by the concept. His restaurant Ultraviolet is a complete immersion. Guess what? You don’t know where the restaurant is as they set up a rendez-vous on the Bund in Shanghai – they pick you up blindfolded to the location. 20 courses, table of ten per night, music and sound, projected images on the walls, fragrance diffuser. You are dived into a real universe created by the chef. Moreover his live demonstration of the fish “tupperware” was very impressive. Baked in a jelly so the fish can absorb all the savors, the block comes out as a piece of art. When he started the oyster, he affirmed he wanted to find the product in its natural shape. Once again, the precision was incredible, especially with the citric. It has kinda like a magical side with all the smoke. I can’t wait to go back to Shanghai to discover it! Having had the chance to talk to him, I am glad I met somebody very nice, open and funny, with an incredible talent. I was already very happy so see him on stage and front row but I feel very blessed to finally be able to meet him in person.

“It’s important for a chef to learn through people he meets (…) Cuisine is about being open-minded and creating a collective brain. Without it, no collective intelligence anymore. We need social diversity. Above all political speeches doesn’t unite, cuisine does.” Thierry Marx

Some people may have been there for other chefs, that are more famous or anything but you have to follow your heart. Put your effort in what you believe and not for what other people like. Not all stories will mean something for you so you just have to figure out what you are sensitive to. Therefore the choices you’ve made will build the future You.

On the other side, ‘la scène sucré’ invites pastry chefs since 2008 to come up with new savors, texture combinations, fragrance mixes, unexpected shapes, crazy colors, other raw materials. I started on Sunday with Patrick Roger, you know, the chocolate master basically. He didn’t create anything on stage but it was more related to his experience and the message he wanted to convey. He pointed out social, experimental and technological facts. “It’s like Real Madrid, to play well, you need a good club, at the age of 18, people usually have half a knife, I, probably had the best toolbox possible and at 40, I probably had the most beautiful atelier”. He also underlines team work as inescapable because if he cannot do something, someone else certainly will. On Tuesday, I finished up with Michael Bartocetti, François Perret who did a pretty amazing lemon meringue pie, something that makes me run away usually even if I love lemon but he managed to turn it into something light in the taste (not in sugar unfortunately haha), then last but not least, Christophe Michalak with a delicious Kosmik!

“I’m conservative-liberal” Patrick Roger

I had so much fun discovering the amazing Omnivore world for three days! I guess everything is said above, thank you so much for what you have done. I learnt a lot, and I do realize how blessed I am. See you next time!

Paul Pairet_

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