The third series of MAD Symposium – created by René Redzepi and curated by David Chang of Momofuku – came to a tummy-turning end on Monday 26 August when world-renowned Brazilian chef Alex Atala took to the stage and killed a chicken to promote ‘conscientious carnivorism’.
The theme for this year’s symposium was Guts and opened with an even more shocking act of graphic animal butchery: Italian butcher Dario Cecchini slitting the belly of a hanging pig (pictured).
In previous years the themes have been equally avant-garde. The first MAD of its kind saw an impressive line-up of chefs including Daniel Patterson (US), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan), Magnus Nilsson (Sweden), Ben Shewry (New Zealand) and Massimo Bottura (Italy) brace the topic of vegetation and how, as chefs, they have a responsibility to understand how they affect agriculture. Over the two-day event, the assemblage of influential chefs explored the implications of foraging and how to reconnect people with the origin of ingredients.
MAD 2 was an equally thought-provoking affair with the theme of ‘appetite’. This turned the spotlight from the world of plants onto the person, exploring the way in which people satisfy their senses – taste, touch, smell and vision – through food.
But it was this year’s symposium that really caused a stir in the MAD theatre, which for the third year has been erected on Refshaleøen, an island in Copenhagen’s harbor, seeing both chicken and pig being slit and slaughtered on stage to emphasis the point that, in Alex Atala’s words, ‘death happens’.
Along with René Redzepi, David Chang, Alex Atala and Dario Cecchini who played key parts in the fest, the impressive line-up of speakers included chefs Alain Ducasse, Barbara Lynch and Roy Choi along with Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva, cookbook author Diana Kennedy and Swedish forager Roland Rittman.
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