Mugaritz 2013 Making space and time to be creators

thehomelesschefs

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Every year Mugaritz closes its doors to dedicate space and time to focus on being creators.

It is important to set aside this time, especially for a restaurant like Mugaritz.

To be a creator is not easy in our industry and still the business side is always given the main emphasis, believing that if a restaurant is to creatieve it does not make any money. I dont believe this is true as ideas can be generated to find ways to assist a creative project very well if needed. Ferran has released books, products amongst other things and was able to transform the culinary focus on a global basis.

I always will admire the courage of chefs like Ferra Adria, Andoni Luis Aduriz and other chefs, that have given value and meaning to the creatieve process and work of a chef.

Never being afraid of the unknown, nature,humor, emotions, concepts, poetry, research, design, technology, science…

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Mugaritz… an experience of a life time

thehomelesschefs

Mugaritz is the most emotional culinary experience I ever had since being a child and entering the japanese culture through Toshiro Mifune in 1975.

I found that emotions were not only pouring out of me but everything around me in Mugaritz was pouring into me.

Emotions is something not very popular in most kitchens and a sensitive person like myself often finds it hard as feeling, sensitivity and intelligent-creative thinking  is everything for me.

I was moved for days and still am. I even was crying at the incredible depth of this experience of a lifetime I shared together with Sergio at Mugaritz.

What everyone in Mugaritz achieved is magical and truly, I dream of this, I can feel it and love it.

This is not a review so I will not write what things are as I feel everything stads for itself no descriptions needed, only imagination. You must experience this yourself and for each one it will be different depending on how receptive…

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About Mugariz… “Almost always, the creatieve minority has made the world better”…Martin Luther King

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When I came to mugaritz I was truly touched by the entire sensitivity, refinement ,creatieve energy, passion but most of all the humanity.

All the people involved with Mugaritz are very beautiful beings located in a very special location doing incredible work and as in the quote above, this minority of creatieve people truly make the world a better place!

Jose Ramon ( the gentle man in the photo ) is the face of Mugaritz and I had the privilege to spend that evening with him who guided me through the world of Mugaritz in such a way that words are not enough to describe such an experience.

I wrote a letter to Jose Ramon and this is a little section of what I wrote:

“I just want to thank you so much for that evening and I want to tell you how elegant and what a beautiful special human…

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The sounds of Paolo Michelini

thehomelesschefs

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This is my favourite Artist of Sound and Music. Words are not enough to say the things one can feel and perceive from the dimensions of sound thats why it has its own communication.

My dyslexic mind went a bit on a journey and here is a freestyle caption of the kind of investigation I found myself on after hearing the sounds of Paolo Michelini…

Everything is vibration so on a scale of the absolute all has the same nature however we separate and categorise vibrations when in fact one could harmonise all this as a conscious choice in your life without prejudice. If we all did an experiment and everyone start meditating on sounds in your life – that potentially could shift a lot of things in a very significant way. Perhaps more sensitivity in general about sounds in life would make some sounds just less desirable to make…

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The sounds of Paolo Michelini

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This is my favourite Artist of Sound and Music. Words are not enough to say the things one can feel and perceive from the dimensions of sound thats why it has its own communication.

My dyslexic mind went a bit on a journey and here is a freestyle caption of the kind of investigation I found myself on after hearing the sounds of Paolo Michelini…

Everything is vibration so on a scale of the absolute all has the same nature however we separate and categorise vibrations when in fact one could harmonise all this as a conscious choice in your life without prejudice. If we all did an experiment and everyone start meditating on sounds in your life – that potentially could shift a lot of things in a very significant way. Perhaps more sensitivity in general about sounds in life would make some sounds just less desirable to make helping to create a better environment for all beings.

It seems everything has a sound and fundamentally this is vibrational. That could be interesting to explore.

Imagine all the sound of suffering that we blank out of our consciousness….if we really listen to that with full consciousness and awareness then we do not want to create this!

Paolo Michelini’s sounds for sure is inspiring me to listen more closely and with more sensitivity to everything including myself. It inspires me to find positive rhythms in my work and life layered with different impressions through sound vibration naturally accruing around me in the hear and now.

I was inspired to start a whole trail of thought experience because as you can see in the videos how he hears nature which is so incredibly beautiful sensitive elegant creative and fascinating.Perhaps I will try to hear sounds in a totally different way now.

In Kundalini or many spiritual practitioners globally have mantras which are vibration and sound which is healing and purifying so you start vibrating more positive and balance the damage of the world and beings.

Mantras vibrates on a powerful basis and I heard from high masters in Tibet that they only hear mantra all the time- everything is a mantra there is no good and bad all is one.

Not only mantras do this but the way we speak, sing and many other ways also can help heal and balance.

I think it could be good to discipline yourself on this. Your sound and vibration can definitely hurt and injure another.

I always say it is not what you looking at it is what you see and now I want to investigate and meditate the same principle with all sounds on a much more conscious level.

As a chef we have so many sounds and it is never consciously worked with. In Mugaritz and El Bulli there was experiments with  Music and food finding a dimension of were those creative energies meet and transform into music. I never exactly liked those expressions because it seemed very abstract and further away from the actual life in the kitchen and what that could creatively mean.

Imagine being in a kitchen with many people all with a different energy and state of minds and sometimes you try to tune in to everyone but if the person dont want to then that is how it is and instead of suffering it is important to know you can’t change what is happening but you can choose how you experience this.

Perhaps in communication If I could hear the sound rather then interpretate the meaning of the words and feelings?

I have a little mantra it is called “cancel clear delete” so when ever now someone comes at me with a seemingly negatieve vibration and instead of reacting back with more negativity I just do my cancel clear delete and give back a compassionate sound.

I dont need to carry that energy with me for the rest of the day or life. Listening to positive sounds will help clear that energy.

Sound is in the hear and now so by becoming conscious of this that is when you start hearing the music of what ever situation you are at that moment – right?

I am getting all sorts of inspirational thoughts now from just having listened to Paolo Michelini’s music…….

However it would be fascinating if in a kitchen like Mugaritz -in the kitchen itself for the sounds become not a separate by product of your activity of the day that you slip in and out of but becomes a sensorial part of how you work on a daily basis and surely all the sounds we make infiltrate the food  and everyones experience itself.

I don’t believe we taste with out month, hear with the ears and so on. For sure we separate these experiences for some strange reason however when things gel overlay in its wholeness everything has more volumen.

I dont know much about Paolo Michelini apart that he is from Italy and makes incredibly beautiful sounds so unfortunatly I cant write about him very much except to share my impressions and feelings of what his music inspired me to experience.

As the homeless chef of course I love going on journeys and this one is a really lovely positive creative one that I wanted to share with everyone else.

Oh and I forget to say that I will buy myself some nice headphones and this is going to be the music I will take with me to San Sebastian and this will help me so much to create beautiful things and help me through all that awaits me there at Mugaritz 🙂

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You can find his music on: http://hlfmn.bandcamp.com/album/h-lf-m-n

There are several possible ways of achieving something

In my early training with an older generation of Japanese sushi chef  the method and structure was very clear. Firstly every day the same routine, it is very clearly this way  and no questioning or investigational activity rather it is based on traditional methods dating back 100ds of years and it is subject to the training “masters” transmissions from that chef to the chef you are training with and his preferences and you follow this way exactly. In most cases the chefs have a family tradition were the father and grandfather before have a linage which is very unique and valuable. In Japan specially kyoto this is very important and therefor highly valued and very rarely a first generation chef can reach the highest status in that community however of course now it is more common then before. I would say from my experience it is very stress free and very risk free and clear and also necessary. I feel far less stress and confusion in this traditional set up. Everyday I know exactly what I need to do. I only concentrate and hone in all my absolute attention in perfecting everyday my work. As you know it is more common in Japan that a person or restaurant will specialise for example just on tofu or just on tempura. This is the perfection investigation specifically on just this one thing. It is the perfection one is looking for rather then many new endless possibilities as in creating new techniques and dishes and presenting new ideas every season. This is however part of Japanese traditions but in a very subtle and more feminine gentle way. Nobody is trying to recreate the wheel as such it could be said it is more about creating a charm of nostalgic / historic / cultural references dedicated to the special produce and season and time of the year for example. This is just in a nutshell of course nowadays more references can filter into this as in french techniques and some new ideas from the nonconformist world however it is very clear that the essence of Nihon Ryori is never infiltrated to such a degree that is becomes something else. Some 3 Michelin chefs in Kyoto remark the feeling that Japanese cuisine in itself is so interesting and unique in method, technique and presentation that it does not need to change. I agree the spectrum vocabulary existing in Japanese cuisine are fully fascinating and really do not and should not change. That comment needs a whole separate blog but I hope you can understand the best intention of this comment. Back to what I was saying that usually the head chef creates new directions and again you follow exactly. In Ryugin it is only a small close circle  1 or 2 other chefs that will consult with Yamamoto san. It is one of the best kitchen set ups I ever have experienced. Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 15.00.52   It is very clear and safe and efficient. The discipline in at the highest high level and the  kitchen is the safest place to be as a chef. It is like a military operation in the best possible way. Everyone is ready no discussions no uncertainty no chatting no need to talk just do and ready a alertness of everyone highly superb consciousness as a team and  everyone follows the comando and discipline and the technique of the chef and it works! Everyone knows exactly how to conduct oneself in the kitchen so socially and mentally the kitchen is a really clear place. Of course the observation of every process in a japanese kitchen are highly sensitive, articulated and precise. One is trained exactly what to look for to the degree of even the humidity in the air and seasonal conditions etc example rice when it was harvested how it was stored looking at the grain to see how dry it is therefor calculating precisely the amount of soaking time and water to be added before cooking and water purity ph levels etc. However it is not going to open new investigations to such a level as in nonconformist cuisine for example, which sources without any prejudice everywhere and anywhere. So the discovery is completely non conformed by tradition, origin or technique known or unknown etc. I am not stating one or the other is better or more perfect  I am just trying to explore  different ways of investigation and possible methods to achieve something. To achieve something you have a question and direction or a central point. If you don’t you need to create this. Seems obvious however I see many times people head chefs including that don’t have any organisation to there investigation or creativity therefor in the worst case repeat and really cant go far with anything. Kind of disappointing and very non specific unclear results. Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 11.58.35     However a “no method” can be a very interesting method to, however  you need to be a very refined and have high level of intuitiveness as Javier Oleros from Culler de Pau for example ( centre of picture). He is instinctive and intuitive and in the moment really one of my favourite chefs to work with. The service is completely intense and everyone is ready to just be in the here and now and follow the intuitive spontaneous energy of Javier. Very exiting but if you are not skilled at this it would be a disaster. He of course has his concept and frame but in the service anything can change in the moment so you have to be on high alert and the movement is like a fierce creative dance as 4 chefs all plate together supplying the different elements needed. I would not mind to make a investigation on the principle of no method however it might require in itself also a method paradoxically enough.

EXPANDING VISIONS AND CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE

There are many different kind of intelligence’s, emotional, intuitive, creative etc etc all in nature I believe all intelligence is creative and part of the creative process. Vision is also very fascinating I always like the saying that thinking is more interesting then knowing but not a s fascinating as seeing. Seeing is in the moment something fundamentally reveals a truthfulness a beauty a understanding etc to you in a way that is not that obvious. A new angle. I must mention that the first time I ever heard of anyone speak of organising ones creativity was in the late 1990’s when I was given a book by El bulli. The book of course was fascinating but I was more interested in this map that comes with the book. I discarded the book and kept looking at this map and this really opened my can of worms and my life changed from that point quite drastically. I went to art school and not even there did anyone tell me so clearly about the constructorisation of a creative process so concisely as Ferran did! Ferran without doubt contributed the biggest research and offerings to all of us in regards of creative processes and investigations. He now is for example shares the sketches, models, and innovative designs that fuelled his dish creations in the Drawring Center New york earlier this year.
This principle of sharing creates a chef consciousness around the globe that really revolutionises the minds in the kitchen globally and the interaction and activity from this is really wonderful! Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 14.30.57   Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity is a paradigm shifting exhibition that changes the way we look at the conception of the intricate recipes served at elBulli by displaying Adrià’s drawings and visual creative process as art. “It will give people a different vision of creativity in the kitchen,” Adrià explained. “People don’t just imagine what’s behind all the work that we do.”  Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 14.35.16Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 14.37.54 Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 14.42.35  
I am not that articulated as Ferran however am greatly enthusiastic about creativity as I feel this is one of the true and natural aspects of the nature of life. I just want to share a simplest idea if you want to explore the creative dimensions and want to create a format to frame your objectives effectively. You will find the endless possibility of the gastronomic universe is truly vast and you now need to find a path. You can create this path as you like and here is one I just created for this blog to have a bit of fun and it is a easy way to play with this process. You need to create a creative investigation compass. The creation investigation compass is a very individual choice to help you find your way through the  big or little a can of worms depending how deep you want to go on your investigations. Starting points can be a ingredient, emotions, culture, art, feelings, nostalgic references, dreams,childhood, intellectual, simple, funny,minimalism, a story, a country and word, no sense, architecture, flavour texture colour based I mean literally endless. I would choose a combination of things as a frame to create a bit of dimension to your investigation or you can keep it really zen and minimalist. Investigation is usually a endless fractal of possibilities and usually we have a business to run also and have to therefor organise a method a procedure as to how to set up such a investigation to fit into your daily obligations. Some chefs dedicate a few months of there service time to retreat into a investigation period for up to 6 moths. Now this is rare and is a full on dedication and operation of creative organisation. Not everyone has set themselves up that way. Others have a laboratory investigation team running alongside production and service team. Mainly independent chefs I call them gastronomic chefs dedicate there work to this so when creating there slice of cake tabella business formula, accommodates this creation process very specifically. Every chef has to create new menus so you can be as safe and superficial about it up to the point of revolutionising or philosophical and ethical as you wish. The true freedom of gastronomy is defiantly something that attracts a lot of free and beautiful people creating very beautiful things.

Personally I feel the true gastronomy is free and only belongs into the hands of the gastronomic people.

I made the mistake several times to try to work with non gastronomic people/ investors/ owners,  trying to initiate this creative gastronomic world to them and often they associate this with a person that has no concept for business but this is not true. A creative investigator is so dedicated to this path he would never create a way of working that would allow him or her to go bust as the investigation would end right there. Creativity in itself is continual it recreates itself and is a ongoing energy therefor I dont agree with this misconception. Creative chefs set themselves up specifically so that they can sustain this journey and accomplish great things for the long run and this requires the entire set up to be designed specifically for this!!!!!! Deciding your slices of the cake or creating a creative operational structure: You create your cake tabella or structure and dedicate slice sizes according to what time and space you can dedicate to what in order to make your business or project workable. You need to do this very precisely and the entire operation is a part of this. I say it simply however it is like a ant hill they all know what to do when to make the operation work they all facilitate the ultimate result. This is something that requires also a creative and intelligent structure. It helps to work with forward thinking and innovative thinkers that are pure harted and enthusiastic as you are and experienced. Rome was not built in a day try your best and if it dont work right away never give up!! I worked with so many people always with the same intention of creating a beautiful creative gastronomic universe and many times it did not flurish. You must keep on and learn from the hard lessons of life. Always go back to the drawing board and recreate yourself. That is important. No matter how busy you are you need to set some time aside for your creative development process. You also need to get out somehow, travel or visit places, chef friends, farmers etc  to see things other then your kitchen, if you stuck in the same kitchen day in day out it is hard to experience and inspire yourself with the flux of life. Today I am only looking at the slice of creative investigation irregardless of how big or small it may be. For me this investigation slice is very important but often can be like opening a can of worms as mentioned before: If you are truly nonconformist it really means the creative possibility is endless and therefore to create a creative procedure to organise the creative investigation is really helpful and effective. Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 13.05.24Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 13.02.43 Don’t be scared or confused of the big can of worms-  here is my simple improvised play on what to do with a can of worms that seems so big: 1, what is the “something” that we want to achieve, the starting point and set yourself the end goal. 2, how can this be achieved – the technique etc and this is the investigation journey. A very simple frame but it helps and works. Usually the starting point is your origin and started you on the journey and the endpoint will be probably different that you expected. The journey was the most important and is the result of your creative process. Really the starting point and the original end result was only to produce the journey and this is the most important thing and if done well it is enigmatic.  The nice thing is you have a story to tell also as to how all this dish came about to your customers because you really had this journey. For me the story is the charm of the dish the point of relating your ideas to customers. This will help you create names and descriptions better also. You can create formulas of creation investigation according to anything really. Just in the vastness of thing it is good to organise your investigation otherwise it can get lost in translation. Another way is to to discover as you are in the here and now seeing in the moment new aspects. Example Ferran was cutting tomatoes everyday and  away the seeds. Because he cut so many i suspect he really got in contact with them and started seeing them in a unique way in that moment and questions arose from this as in why do we through these away and investigated and then he created dishes with this and so on. There is a saying that there are many ways to skin a cat. There is no one way right way there is only the way, the journey and you need to create your freedom for this specific process otherwise this will not really work. I tried to work like this in cooperate companies and it is defiantly now much understood therefor now I made the decision to stop aiming at a investor to create my own restaurant but to concentrate on the gastronomic community as they fully understand this perfectly and the most important thing is to be amongst this important energy. I know this blog today is a bit long and free style but I hope it helps.

The Wines of Elisabetta Foradori

 

img_31536f53caThe wines of Elisabetta Foradori hail from the Dolomites, Northern Italy and are often described as amoung the most elegant, refined, and challenging wines that retain a sense of fun, so intrinsic to making a wine work!

Elisabetta took on the family estate in 1985, apparently more out of a sense of duty than desire follwing the death of her father, but very quickly developed a love for her land, vines and winemaking. The estate is particularly well known for its production of an indigenous grape variety named Teroldego – so so elegant and yet remaining challenging in all the right places! Tradition is certainly the prevailing ethos here, with the land and vines being at the core of every consideration however, Elisabetta is also one for experimentation, having started using amphorae since about a decade ago. The estate has been managed biodynamically since the early 2000s, a decision that Elisabetta claims has only increased the quality of the wines and, just as importantly, her interaction with them.

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She applies the biodinamic system of Rudolf Stainer:

Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming originally developed by Rudolf Steiner that employs what proponents describe as “aholistic understanding of agricultural processes”.[1]:145 One of the firstsustainable agriculture movements,[2][3][4] it treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks,[5][6][7] emphasizingspiritual and mystical perspectives. Proponents of biodynamic agriculture, including Steiner, have characterized it as “spiritual science” as part of the larger anthroposophy movement.[1][2][8]

Biodynamics has much in common with other organic approaches – it emphasizes the use of manures and composts and excludes the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include its treatment of animals, crops, and soil as a single system; an emphasis from its beginnings on local production and distribution systems; its use of traditional and development of new local breeds and varieties; and the use of anastrological sowing and planting calendar. Biodynamic agriculture uses various herbal and mineral additives for compost additives and field sprays; these are sometimes prepared by controversial methods, such as burying ground quartz stuffed into the horn of a cow, which are said to harvest “cosmic forces in the soil”, that are more akin to sympathetic magic than agronomy.

As of 2011 biodynamic techniques were used on 142,482 hectares in 47 countries. Germany accounts for 45% of the global total;[9] the remainder average 1750 ha per country. Biodynamic methods of cultivating grapevines have been taken up by several notable vineyards.[10] There are certification agencies for biodynamic products, most of which are members of the international biodynamics standards group Demeter International.

No difference in beneficial outcomes has been scientifically established between certified biodynamic agricultural techniques and similar organic and integrated farming practices. Critics have characterized biodynamic agriculture aspseudoscience on the basis of a lack of strong evidence for its efficacy and skepticism about aspects criticized as beingmagical thinking.

Elisabetta Foradori from her website:

“We began using biodynamic preparations in 2002, after a long time of reflection and comparison with our work in the past. Biodynamic agriculture is an agronomic intervention “solar” means any practice in the country tends to lead the forces of the sun in vital processes of the soil and the plant. The planetary system is a real living being, in which the spheres of action of the individual planets penetrate the sunlight that floods the earth. use of biodynamic preparations catalyzes these forces. We have not departed from the spirit of knowledge and of modern research, but we have tried to bring back the man with his spirituality in science, considering not only the materialistic aspect of nature, but by addressing the deep understanding of life processes. Modern man has forgotten that it is agriculture that revolve around almost all human activities. Rudolf Steiner and biodynamic agriculture.”

Further more her sensitivity and intelligence articulates the following:

“We taste the wine and we are able to perceive the essence and energy. Let’s look at the images of the crystallization sensitive Teroldego, the Nosiola or Manzoni Bianco in their evolution in time and see the abstract of our sensations that materializes in increasingly dense and fine crystals. There are no numbers or data but simply perceptions is so that we seem to be part of the natural cycle, we can combine our knowledge to the intuitive understanding of nature, to be part of its rhythms. We finally put into listening and we understand. Analyze the vitality

Working with nature refines the ability to hear, shares the spirit and habits of the farmer, leads to a profound understanding of life processes. At the more concrete dimension of doing joins a different dimension that goes away looking materialistic and is enhanced by a more spiritual dimension.then discover a different kind made ​​of macrocosm and microcosm, full of life and expression of multiplicity never dull. This is the nature that invites you to listen to yourself and to consider every gesture agriculture not as an end in itself but a sharing in a complete cycle. A rich agricultural landscape diversity is a great value that must be protected, cared for, and told rebuilt. So we planted hedges around the vines and old varieties of fruit, tried to reintroduce animals, cared for the turf seeding dell’interfilare many different herbs. were multiplied butterflies, insects and birds. While living in an area with intensive agriculture such as Trentino nature has reacted and almost thanked. Rainer Zierock – Axioms of agrarian culture