Brunch With The Best

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IMG_08531IMG_08531IMG_08531‘Brunch With The Best’ started with a morning of gourmet bagels, Miele coffee and sparkling wine, as part of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape Festival. The ‘Best’ part of the morning was a panel of international chefs and restaurateurs, including Chele Gonzalez of Gallery Vask in Manila, David Thompson of Nahm in Bangkok, Gaggan Anand of Gaggan in Bangkok and Chris Salans of Mozaic in Bali. These classically trained chefs have found their culinary homes in countries emerging as the new frontiers of modern, global cuisine. The event was presented by Adrian Gill, a British writer a food critic from London, who bounced banter back and forth with the all-star panel. Along with the relentless humour, came a few interesting topics which bought to light the challenges of relocating to a foreign country to open a restaurant. These included authenticity, sustainability and availability of ingredients.
David Thompson, an Australian chef and cookery writer, is famous for his expertise in Thai cuisine. David’s restaurant, Nahm, is recognised as one of the world’s top 50 restaurants and the first Thai restaurant to receive a michelin star. David mentioned that “Food is such an intimate thing. You have whole countries that think their cuisine is as they know it. With Thai cuisine, certain conventions need to be sustained, but food doesn’t stand still.”
Chris Salans was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in Paris. The love for his Indonesia wife and her mother’s food took him to Bali where he opened Mozaic. “There is no such thing as an authentic dish,” said Chris. “How do you define what is authentic or not?” The fact that international chefs are recreating the cuisine of another country on that country’s home soil highlighted the importance of locally sourced ingredients. Chris mentioned “I cannot recreate these flavours outside of Bali, because the ingredients are rooted to the soil.”
Chele Gonzalez originates from Torrelavega, Spain and works closely with local farmers and fisherman, using the freshest products on his menu at Gallery Vask in Manila. Chele recognises that “You cannot get a good ingredient if it’s not in season. You cannot get a good ingredient if you don’t know the farmer or the grower.” Chele uses fresh, indigenous products and acknowledges the deep historical connection the Philippines shares with Spain, through sustainable cooking.
Gaggan Anand was born in Calcutta, India and moved to Bangkok in 2007 after a short visit. His progressive Indian restaurant, Gaggan, was awarded top spot in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015 and ranked #10 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. In some countries, people don’t have the money or the resources to be thinking about sustainability. Gaggan realises that “Sustainability can happen in Australia and other countries, but in India, our basic need is to feed the people, before looking at sustainability.”
The event helped the crowd to understand that being a chef and restaurateur is a passion and a life commitment. When Adrian Gill asked the chefs “Do you guys feel like heros?” , Gaggan Anand replied “Who is the hero? The food is the hero.”


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