Harper's Bazaar March 2016 - Page 192

HOT LIST Bazaar FOOD T U R N I N G TA B L E S From cooking with bugs to what’s new at Noma—the global culinary gamechangers you need to know this year CHEF ALEX ATALA (From top) Veal thymus with mate tea béarnaise; chef Alex Atala. 192 His philosophy is simple: Creativity with a Brazilian soul, and it all goes back to the ingredients. (He founded ATÁ to research sustainable ingredients, three years ago, through which he developed a new variety of Brazilian rice, miniarroz.) Take priprioca, a root often used in the cosmetic industry;tucupi, a yellow liquid extracted from wild manioc root that must be boiled for 20 minutes to evaporate its cyanide; or jambu, a herb known for an electrical sensationthroughthebody when chewed. Even ants. “Some insects are delicious, The Mexican chapulinos are wonderful; the ants we work with at D.O.M. a have a taste of lemongrass and notes of ginger, tastes one does not expect,” says Atala. But more than that, “insects are the biggest protein fountain you can have with the least environmental impact you can think of.” That they find a place on Atala’s tasting menus means one thing: Sustainability is the new luxury in food. CHEF MASSIMO BOTTURA The world’s top 25 restaurants include only one from Italy: Chef Massimo Bottura’s three Michelin-starred two decadesold Modena spot, Osteria Francescana. His food may be inspired by the flavours from his childhood in EmiliaRomagna, but what makes it stand out is the balance of tradition and irreverence. He looks at tradition from a distance, and in doing so is reinventing the cuisine he knowsbest—takethedishFive Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano, which serves the region’s cheese in varying forms and textures.Which is why his restaurant offers two tasting menus, one to honour Italian ingredients and traditions, and another longer one that highlights seasonal experiments, like suckling pig with balsamic vinegar. And one of Damien Hirst’s Spin paintings—the latest in the restaurant’s extensive artwork display— explains the dish ‘beautiful psychedelic spin-painted veal, not flame grilled’, inspired by the series. (From top) Beautiful psychedelic spin-painted veal, not flame-grilled; chef Massimo Bottura; an eel along the river Po; foie gras; red mullet. IMAGES COURTESY RUBENS KATO; PAOLO TERZI; PER ANDERS JORGENSEN Alex Atala proves that it takes more than just delicious food and beautiful plating to be an influential chef. Today, it takes conscience as well. He goes deep into the Amazon to reinvent Brazilian cuisine, and the results are astounding. No wonder his São Paulo restaurant D.O.M consistently finds a place in the world’s top restaurants. This March, he launches Açougue Central, which specialises in steak. But the menu includes less ‘noble’ cuts, like the fried pig’s ear, and values hundred percent of the meat. “When we rediscover an ingredient and use it in gastronomy, the entire food chain ends up receiving benefits, from the researcher who developed its seed to the small producer to the final consumer,” says Atala, who wants to do for Brazilian food what composer Heitor Villa-Lobos did for music. The analogy is his (the heavily tattooed chef was a disk jockey who travelled through Europe as a backpacker, and enrolled at the Hospitality School of Namur in Belgium to extend his visa). This year, he will take his message global as he joins the second season of Netflix’s Chef’sTable series.