10th Anniversary of Amador
I love celebrating anniversaries of people who push boundaries. Having ideas is very easy, having the guts and endurance to see them through, over and over, is what I really respect. Being invited to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of Amador, and molecular cooking in Germany was a great honour for us in this light.
Boundaries of what we expect in food taste and presentation is always pushed to the ends by molecular cooks, like Juan Amador who keep us thinking not just about what and how we eat, but also how physical and chemical transformations can blow our minds.
It's my favourite type of environment, where nerdiness and food come together, and as someone who spends most of my time campaigning on the agroecology side of the food coin, I love spending time in the sensory side of what is actually created with what we prepare land for. Where the culinary and physics come together.
Talking taste with those in molecular gastronomy is as exciting as talking with a viticulturist, they look end to end of what was grown and how it is best presented and enjoyed. I think their primary tool is their nose, and their creative minds for combining and expecting how flavours and visuals come . The early days of the molecular approach was about looking at vacuum chambers and low temperatures in the 18th century. As you know with BLYSS, as we do everything under 50 degrees centigrade, the role of temperature IS our whole point of preserving what grew so fantastically by the theobroma cacao trees. You can see why I love dipping a freshly licked finger into the bowl.
The molecular approach went from sauces and heat in cooking, to seeing how to distribute flavour differently through ingredients, to the role of texture, and the interplay of foods and liquids. In functional terms, it was the role of chemical reactions in food, heat conduction and convection, solubility and flavour stabilisation. Which pretty much sums up 'the' chocolate process from fermentation through conching, as particle size being one of the key tools to bring flavour (or block) flavour that was developed during fermentation.
Guys like Amador, really bring the big picture of 'food' together by interplaying the social, artistic and technical aspects of nutrition together. You could see that by the 10th anniversary party we celebrated on Sunday - the combo of exceptional chefs bringing out stages of stunning creations, and supported by a range of food producers themselves (including us).
MY list of personal favourites were:
- fresh pressed vege juice from The Frank Juice
- smoked to perfection beef from Otto Gourmet
- Spanish organic wines from Pares Balta
- bite sized marshmallows from Hello Mello
- ice cream from KYL21
- extra dry tonic from Aqua Monaco
- stunning handblown drinking and shot glasses from Schwarzmüllerglas
- South African wines from Schalkenbosch
- blue gin
Of course, the man himself Juan Amador was a wonderful host, greeting the guests, having a good time and celebrating the anniversary with fun and style.
As mentioned above, I have MUCH respect for people who not only HAVE ideas, but the endurance to see them through year after year, in his case, star after Michelan star. From the first star which was awarded in 1997 and the next in Sylt, then in Aschaffenburg and the second in 2002. If you've had the pleasure of experiencing his creations in Langen, Wiesbaden or now Mannheim, you've had great luck. The evolution of his style and trademark attention to detail, has been his ongoing hallmark. And something I look forward to seeing for the next years to come too, especially as the asian-european cross-over style which is coming in the next projects we hear whispers about. He started with no stars, but then earned the first one, which turned into two and is he's now got three stars constantly to his name.
Congratulations to the big picture. Congratulations to pushing boundaries. And congratulations for giving a damn about food that's not the typical Michelan-fru-fru, but goes deeper to authentic ingredients, the interplay of the nuances they come from and celebrating taste for what it is. Magic. Pure magic.
Cheers to the next 10 years.
—Alyssa Jade McDonald-Baertl, Bean Queen @ BLYSS
Photos: Juan Amador