A shower of Italian and Spanish stars light up the first day of the San Sebastian Gastronomika

The conference paid a moving tribute to Pedro Arregui, creator of Elkano Restaurant, who passed away this year.

The holders of more than 30 Michelin stars have graced the halls of the Kursaal Conference Centre during this first day of the professional conference: San Sebastian Gastronomika-Euskadi Basque Country. The Italian chef, Massimo Bottura, got the event off to a flying start by presenting his new book (Phaidon) and cooking two of the recipes in it, red mullet and crunchy lasagne. The chef from Milan, Carlo Cracco, prepared a risotto and highlighted the importance of “maintaining the identity of our culinary tradition in order to pay tribute to the other cuisines of the world”. Freshly arrived from the Sorrento coast, Gennaro Espossito delighted the audience by cooking red mullet with pesto and red onion and courgette marmalade, illustrating the two key concepts of his own idiosyncratic style: products and authenticity.

During the last session of the morning, Elena and Juan Mari Arzak, who are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their first Michelin star this year, prepared hake cheeks with bamboo and squid in a fig leaf. Carme Ruscalleda prepared a romesco dashi and explained that nature serves as both her inspiration and the starting point of all her dishes. The Andalusian chef Dani Garcia cooked a foie-gras yogurt, a fried sea bass and a crocheted doily, and Andoni Luís Aduriz cooked some koskera hake pearls. Andoni Luis Aduriz, Dani García and Quique Dacosta were also the stars of today’s Private Kitchen sessions, a series of master classes for a small group of participants.

Gastronomika pays tribute to Pedro Arregui

The conference, which is now a global benchmark in the world of haute cuisine, today paid a moving tribute to Pedro Arregui, the creator of Elkano, who passed away this year. On the stage of the Kursaal Conference Centre, Martín Berasategui, Pedro Subijana, Karlos Arguiñano, Juan Mari Arzak, Hilario Arbelaitz and Andoni Luis Aduriz all praised Arregui’s work, and coincided in describing him as a master of grilled fish.  Moved to tears by the tribute, Karlos Arguiñano gave a sculpture to Arregui’s widow and son, stating that Elkano “is the best fish restaurant in the world”.

During the same session, the surprise cake made to celebrate the conference’s 16th anniversary was unveiled: a Vespa covered in meringue and desserts, all made in the colours of the Italian flag and driven onto the stage by its maker, the patissier Cristian Escribà.

The first day of the OFF sessions and the Market

Today also saw the start of the OFF sessions of the Gastronomika Conference, in which wine was the star product. Jorge Orte Tudela and Michael Cooper won the Wine & Win competition and in the Wine Sessions, experts such as Walter Speller, Josep Roca, Luca Maroni and Jane Hunt directed guided tasting sessions for which all tickets have been sold out for days.

The Gastronomika Market, featuring over 100 top brands, also opened its doors today, with tasting and sampling sessions of some of the best products in the world. Inside the market, today also saw the opening of Summum, an exclusive area in which delegates can taste Agustí Torelló cava, Can Bech delicacies, Coll Verd foie, Ràfols cod and Gorrotxategui chocolate, among others.

Tomorrow, at Gastronomika

With his presentation “glocal” fiction, Joan Roca will be one of the brightest stars of tomorrow’s programme (Auditorium, 13.10 h). Other not-to-be-missed moments include the presentations by Ángel León (“high tech” marine emotions) and Pedro Subijana (playful region). Moreover, the pizza chefs from Naples, Enzo Coccia (owner of the only pizza restaurant in the world to be awarded a Michelin star), Raimondo Cinque (Pizzeria a Metro) and Enzo Piccirillo, the guru of fried pizza, will liven up the afternoon session in the auditorium (16.20h). Tomorrow the winner of the 2nd Pau Albornà i Torras Gastronomic Journalism Prize will be announced, and the Market will continue to be the hub for the world’s best products and culinary companies. And just outside the entrance to the Kursaal, the pizza chefs will continue to delight all and sundry with their Street Food.

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