Within the chef trade, many have worked tirelessly for years trying to establish a culinary tradition reflective of one very simple fact: good ecology equals better flavours and more diversity. In spite of this standard tenet of basic cooking wisdom, recent times have seen the global food system heading towards increasingly unsustainable production, diminishing animal and plant biodiversity and deteriorating environmental and climate conditions across the world.
Therefore, chefs today have a new opportunity – and perhaps even an obligation – to inform the public about what is good to eat, and why. This means that we ourselves also need to learn much more about issues that are critical to our world: culinary history, native flora, the relationship between food and food supply systems, sustainability and the social significance of how we eat.
MAD is a platform that recognises that the role of the chef is evolving and developing into a position of influence – one that impacts the manner in which people and food professionals consume and connect with food. Such responsibility requires education, an elevation of awareness and social maturity and MAD is set up to accelerate and harness this new potential for positive change across the food industry and beyond.
We are a volunteer, not-for-profit project working out of an office corner of a restaurant. All our audio and video material is available online as open source. The reality is that the resources that we have remain limited. All the funds that we have raised have been reinvested into making the event better every year. However, as we grow each year, so do our ambitions. Our efforts are paying off and although MAD has begun gaining a voice in the food community, we are determined to make it an even louder one.
The first MAD was dedicated to ‘vegetation’ and aimed to improve literacy in ecology, the study of food history and food production methods whilst acting as an educational platform designed to increase the general awareness of today’s chefs. For the second, we chose the theme of ‘appetite’. We wanted to investigate the intuition that drives our everyday routine and inspires creativity – that is essential to producing a fundamentally good meal.
Following through on the momentum of the past two years, we are busy arranging a third Symposium, which will take place on Sunday 25 and Monday 26 of August 2013, guest-curated by David Chang of Momofuku and Lucky Peach Magazine. The theme this year is ‘guts’. This is meant to invoke a sense of courage and urgency, enabling this MAD to become a venue where we can reflect on the stories and ideas that no one usually dares or gets an opportunity to tell. We would like the audience to consider its myriad of meanings – literal and metaphorical – as well as its implications for both our professions and our lives.
One particular highlight this year is the inclusion of the Souk el Tayeb, Lebanon’s first farmers market. To me, the Souk is the epitome of what it means to ‘have guts’. Despite bombings and unrest in their city, the market continues to not just function, but to flourish – celebrating culture, cuisine and agriculture. It’s very existence is as an act of resistance against sectarian violence. Their story stresses the fact that knowledge, craft and entrepreneurship in the food sector can be a powerful tool for progress – not just for chefs, but for all the world around them.
We believe that inviting the Souk el Tayeb to MAD will help their entrepreneurial spirits connect with global food society, become inspired and forge valuable friendships with people from across the world. They will be able to gain the knowledge, inspiration and network that will empower them even further and thus benefit their entire community.
Conscious to safeguard our own independence and assure that we remain an open and free arena for discussion, MAD does not accept sponsorship from big food companies. Instead, we rely on concerned organisations, companies and individuals – people who want to be involved because they believe that changing how we think about food is crucial to the health of this planet.
We deeply appreciate any donation – large or small. Paypal is the quickest, easiest method to contribute and can be accessed through the button below. For our American friends, we have also recently set up a 501(c)(3) so that any donation made is tax-deductible.
To discuss any details regarding a donation, please contact Mark Emil Hermansen on email@example.com. For any other questions about or information on MAD, please contact Ali Kurshat Altinsoy on firstname.lastname@example.org.