Foreword – by Anthony Bourdain

‘Fifteen chefs go out for a walk in the forest…’ it sounds like the beginning of a joke – or a slasher film. But that’s more or less what Cook It Raw has been making happen: it plucks the very best and most forward-thinking chefs in the world from their kitchens, their ‘laboratories’, their ‘ateliers’, and deposits them as far as can be imagined from their usual comfort zones, leaving them to forage for ingredients in the Collio hills along the Italian-Slovenian border, fish for a main course in Lapland, or wade upstream in search of wild wasabi in Ishikawa prefecture in Japan.' p.6

‘Cook It Raw is not a food and wine festival. Participants will presumably, at some point, ‘cook’ food. And chefs (being chefs) there will surely be wine. But there are no tickets sold. No tasting tents, co-branded cooking demonstrations , sponsored parties – the usual razzmatazz of events that, to these chefs, have become part of a day’s work. At Cook It Raw, chefs are invited somewhere new each year to learn, to explore, to exchange ideas. And, most interestingly, to fail gloriously, by creating dishes that they have never attempted before.'p.6

The Birth of Raw – by Alessandro Porcelli

‘After weeks of deliberation, I awoke one afternoon from a short nap with the answer: Cook It Raw. We should strip the chefs back and the gastronomy that they practised right back to basics. We’d ask them to leave their tools, intricate techniques and expensive ingredients at home. We would give them an issue to contend with – in this case a future where energy was limited. We’d throw them into the natural world to contemplate it and then ask them to serve their answer up on a plate.' p.10

‘We invited a dozen of the most influential and creative young chefs in the world to the first edition of Cook It Raw…The roster changes, but regular participants include, René Redzepi (Noma); Albert Adrià  (Tickets; 41); Iñaki Aizpitarte (Le Chateaubriand); David Chang(Momofuku); Massimo Bottura (Osteria francescana); Ben Shewry (Attica); Alex Atala (D.O.M); Davide Scabin (Combal Zero); Claude Bosi (Hibiscus); Daniel Patterson (Coi); Pascal Barbot (L’Astrance); Magnus Nilsson (Fäviken); Peter Nilsson (La Gazzetta) and Yoshihiro Narisawa (Les Créations de Narisawa). The group is united not by their fame but by their willingness for learning, exploration and change.'p.10

Cook it Raw (1): Denmark

Cook It Raw Copenhagen commentary – by Lisa Abend

‘Porcelli and Petrini had added an environmental challenge to the task of making dinner. The chefs had to cook without using energy. That was the ‘raw’ in Cook It Raw.’ p.30

‘From there we rode tractors to the beach. In the forest, the chefs had picked gently, tentatively, but now, with the wind whipping fiercely and Jørgen Stoltz, a ranger, explaining the bounty around them, they started harvesting in earnest.’ p.30

‘In the kitchen the next day, everyone was hungover, jet-lagged, nervous. Daniel Patterson worried that he has never seen half the herbs he had picked the day before. Massimo Bottura circulated photocopies of a newspaper to make sure that everyone understood the premise of his dish: it was made of the only seafood – squid, monkfish, jellyfish, and algae – that scientists believed would be left once humankind destroyed the ocean. Pascal Barbot worked with intense concentration on his mackerel filets, talking to no one.’ p.31


René Redzepi

‘Imagine Boy Scouts going to camp. Learning to  tie new knots and see new places in the world and then seeing how we can bring back what we learnt and use it in our own kitchen – that’s Cook It Raw.’ 

Cook It Raw (2): Italy

Collio Commentary – by Mattias Kroon

‘Cooking and eating in the wilderness of the barren and brutal Italian/Slovenian border is not exactly a walk in the park, it's more of a walk on the hillside…But hunting there, that’s a walk on the wild side.’ p.68

The news that Alex [Atala] the Hunter had been kidnapped by some Slovenian locals reached a few of us whilst we were visiting a small island on a nearby Laguna.’ p.68

‘The reason we travelled to the Laguna was not only to slurp soup and speculate about the fate of a dear friend. We had primarily gone to fish. The evening’s dinner was looming and we were responsible for supplying the raw materials. If we failed to catch enough fish, we would go hungry.’ p.68


Cook It Raw (3): Finland

Lapland Commentary – by Jeffrey Steingarten

‘We assembled shortly before midnight on 3 September 2011 in Helsinki, under the massive arches of the Central Railway Station. The night train to Lapland was waiting on a distant platform, which we had yet to find.’ p.108

‘On our first night there Timeo Nieminen, the executive chef of a local restaurant group, put together a lavish spread for us, laid out on a long table in the villa that was our expedition headquarters. There were thin slices of smoked, roast reindeer; smoked vendace (a type of whitefish) from Lake Mieko; wild morels and other mushrooms; and smoked reindeer pie; organic Lappish eggs, lingonberry bread…Lappish cheese with beetroot (beet) shoots; and Puikula potatoes with pickled cucumbers…’ p.109-110


Cook It Raw (5): Japan

Ishikawa commentary – by Adam Sachs

‘Typically, Magnus spends two hours every day foraging around Fäviken Magasinet, his remarkable twelve-seat restaurant in northern-middle-of-nowhere Sweden. At home, his routine is solitary – just a chef and his loyal dog. Today he is joined by his colleagues and trailed by a camera crew, intent on getting close-ups of the moment of discovery.’ p.156

‘Non-Japanese chefs are amazed by the fact that there is wasabi growing in the wild, sprouting plentifully just steps from the path… [Yoshihiro] Narisawa pulls up a more impressive specimen, washes it clean in the stream and hands it to Magnus for inspection. The Brazilian chef Alex Atala takes a bite and dashes into the stream looking for more.’ p.156


Cook It Raw and the Future – by Alessandro Porcelli

‘Even in the most luxurious lodge resort, leave your ego and certainties in the cupboard. Cook the way you think with the few elements picked up or dreamt during the night.’ p.205