January 13, 2020

Vegetables, legumes and gluten were the main watchwords in the lower section of Pavilion 14.1. The quest for new gastronomic alternatives in the utilisation of chickpeas, gastronomic products with Latino origins that have conquered the world, and calls for a space at the tables of diners with allergies and gluten intolerance. No less worthy in terms of expectations was the 10th “Bocados con Queso” Cheese Bites Competition, where Martín Berasategui has been a member of the jury since the outset. The first day signalling the success of a congress which is 18 years old today.


The morning session at the Sala Polivalente got off to a roaring start with an award for top-class gastronomy. Rodrigo de la Calle (El Invernadero, Madrid) won the Spanish Obesity Society’s Healthy Gastronomy Prize for his vegetable recipes.

At this haute cuisine greenery restaurant, de la Calle upgrades vegetables and greens based on fine gastronomy, striving constantly to showcase the best qualities of each product from the land, to rescue species that were fading from existence, and protect their surroundings. Vegetables in nature are a basic premise of the work of a chef, and cooks must therefore adapt to their temporal nature and evanescence, adhering to the life cycles marked out, as always, by the clock of the seasons.

A wealth of possibilities for gluten-free food

Being a celiac or suffering from gluten intolerance no longer has to be a problem when dining out. This was made very clear indeed by Fran Vicente (El Sainete, Madrid), who dwelt on the importance and particular care that must be taken by chefs when confronted with customers affected by this kind of sensitivity. The same kind of care and concern that he favours at his restaurant, where the menus are accompanied by craft beer.

“As chefs, we must give celiac and gluten-intolerant diners full access to restaurants”, said Vicente at the beginning of a talk alongside the Dr. Schär brand, a specialist in professional non-gluten produce. “Those of us who work in kitchens must be aware of the problem posed by this kind of intolerance. Many gluten-intolerant and celiac diners are scared of eating out due to cross-contamination, but bringing an end to this problem is as simple as taking a little care with their food. We just have to be sure of what we are doing, and work methodically and rather delicately”, the chef told the congress.

Reinvention of the chickpea

The relationship between science and cooking was addressed in “Recovery and gastronomic reinterpretation of the Madrid chickpea”, a talk by chefs Daniel Martínez and Luis Isac, of the Madrid Institute for Rural, Agrarian and Food Research and Development (iMiDRA), to demonstrate the opportunities presented by the legume.

A number of different products were presented during the talk – a chickpea beverage, a praliné, chickpea popcorn and an emulsion, and even a frothy drink made from the water used to cook chickpeas. “Chickpea water has some remarkable technical-functional properties. We can put them to considerable use, and it could even be the start of another line of chickpea-based products”. And so, after cooking the chickpeas, they demonstrated how to use chickpea water to obtain a consistent froth or a veganaisse, just the ticket to ward off salmonella during the summer months.

Winner of the 10th Lactalis “Bocados con Queso” Cheese Bites Competition

On the first day of the Reale Madrid Fusión 2020 congress, chef Kiwon Kim Lee (Espacio UMA, Barcelona) won the 10th Cheese Bites Competition with “Truffle brie mochi with milk skin crunch”. The competition was sponsored by Lactalis, a company operating in all Spain’s cheese categories with brands such as Président Profesional, Galbani, Flor de Esgueva, El Ventero and Gran Capitán.

The competition set out to reward young cheese-loving chefs who use their school or business to produce outside-the-box creative tapas featuring cheese.

Lactalis organised the contest through the official Chef Lactalis page on Facebook, where would-be finalists sent in photographs and recipes of their creations. They were eventually whittled down to a shortlist of only six: Toño Rodríguez (Quema, Zaragoza), Kiwon Kim Lee (Espacio UMA, Barcelona), Domenico Demoro (Hotel Novotel, Sevilla), Lara Roguez (Kraken Art Food, Gijón) and Ricardo Lozano (Escuela CTT, Murcia).

They were assessed by a tough jury composed of Martín Berasategui, Iván Cerdeño, Lucía Freitas, Rafa Soler and Clara P. Villalón. The runner-up was Toño Rodríguez (Quema, Zaragoza) with his Red Velvet 2.0, while Ricardo Lozano (Escuela CTT, Murcia) took third place with his Flor de Esgueva Cheese Risotto, creamed pumpkin and soufflé wanton.

Homage to Latin American know-how

Fernando Desa – an executive chef focusing on development of Goya Foods produce – gave a talk on the history of the Unanue family, creator of the world’s most famous brand of Latin American products.

Desa came up with four different creations as homage to the Unanue family, inspired by a number of Latin American countries: “Latin fusion has many elements to combine, many types of products, unknown foodstuffs and a mixture of tastes”, the chef told those present as he worked on a number of dishes to represent several generations of this family business. The first was symbolised with griddled scallops and an assortment of shoots; the second was a Caribbean offering with a base of ripe bananas, picadillo, egg and ajilimojili sauce; the ceviche crunch with passionfruit was created in honour of the third generation; and the fourth generation was represented by a taco filled with pig tripe, cabbage and guacamole salad with jalapeño and agave sauce.