The Mugaritz chef presented a number of dishes from his new menu “The first times”, where he returns to take up some key restaurant ideas such as beauty, temperature of dishes, or the importance of texture.
Andoni Luis Aduriz’s talks are known to be more conceptual than technical. When he comes on stage he makes people think, throws out ideas, he presents some progress, but in the main he asks questions to move forward. And his talk at Madrid Fusión Alimentos de España 2021 was no different. The Rentería genius presented the new menu at Mugaritz**, which has just reopened with the same intention of questioning the diner. This time he will do it by means of the paradigm “The first times”.
Before he began the talk, he remarked, “I’d like to do a thing for the first time, and that’s to dedicate this talk to Francis Paniego. He knows why”, producing the first expressions of astonishment in the auditorium.
He started off by recalling the green history of his restaurant, which won him yesterday’s Madrid Fusión Chef of the Year award. He mentioned the initial contacts with his environment, “which we decided to study at the outset” to move forward “and start to question our logic”.
“What is luxury? How do you add an ingredient to a recipe? How can you stop time? What is beauty? How is it held?”. These reflections, he explained, formed the basis for the emergence of collections of biscuits, veils or glass, collections that have been continued today with, for example, the kombucha laminate, or a baby squid pulp laminate aromatised with sake on the new menu.
More reflections: textures. Along with temperatures, “textures was one of our greatest obsessions, because we thought they are the most important flavour”. This year’s obsession comes as baby squid meringue whip, “a new texture”. Another historical reflection: the barrier between liquids and solids: milk sponge with pectin. “It aerates and ends up in an ambiguous territory, with a subtle and delicate texture”, very Mugaritz.
The stream of ideas and reflections by the Basque chef never dries up. This is the Mugaritz cornerstone, building landscapes from ideas. One of these is immediacy: borage, “such a maritime herb, an oxidative agent, which has to be cut at the very last minute for it to work properly. Isn’t that what luxury is?”.
The last two dishes were about kisses and looks. “On the subject of kisses, we’ve come up with a collection of plates in recent years. Here we wondered who the face of Mugaritz was. We made moulds of the faces of all the members of the team until we came up with Fran’s face, which gives the crockery its shape, and allows diners to kiss his face”.
Reflections on looks created the annual apple dish. Two eyes looking at you, which are two bowls with the combination of two reductions: a reduced apple juice which turns into jelly, to which another apple reduction is added via a cryoconcentrate. This is Andoni’s gaze. This is what he wants for all our gazes, “for us to see what happened to us as an opportunity to see the world as if we were seeing it for the first time”.