Noma’s René Redzepi Revives Legendary MAD Culinary Symposium


The craft cocktail world is currently engaged in a frenzied rush to create a more progressive conference. However, the solution might already exist in the form of a legendary culinary symposium. Noma’s René Redzepi is dusting off his MAD concept and relaunching it for the current era. Today, Redzepi’s team announced on August 26 and 27, industry luminaries will gather in Copenhagen to discuss issues like equality and discrimination in the hospitality industry at MAD 6.

“This year we’ve seen the restaurant community – and the world at large – rocked by stories and experiences of women, of immigrants, of minorities. We now see our friends, collaborators, and colleagues asking how – as individuals and as an industry – we can create a world where opportunities are available to all people,” explains a statement from the organizers. “Through stories, insights from people we know, and perspectives from the outside, we will explore this relevant and pressing issue.”

Given Redzepi’s unique style, it’s no surprise that MAD incorporates elements of numerous other fests to create a truly unique event. Each morning, attendees will gather in Nyhavn in central Copenhagen where they will be taken by boat the event site in Refshaleøen, a small peninsula. (Yes, camping is available on the peninsula.) On site, participants will engage in discussions and demonstrations, most staged outdoors.

True to form, few other specifics are provided about the 2018 incarnation. After payment, attendees will receive an informational packet and that’s about all we know of the schedule. Organizers advise, “So to keep it simple: Read the pack and turn up at the time and place specified. We’ll take care of the rest.”

Don’t book that flight to Denmark just yet. Attendance will be capped around 600—and you must apply for the spots. “We will try to select applicants so that the participants at the symposium are all interested in exploring the same questions but represent a wide range of points of view, geographies, and roles, inside and outside the kitchen,” state the MAD team.

If you survive the competitive application process, a ticket is still required. 3,500 DKK ($580) gets you a two day pass. The boat trips, breakfast, lunch, seminars, and just about everything else during the daytime sessions is covered in the cost of entry.

The MAD symposia ran from 2011 until 2016 before a one year hiatus. During that five year run, the gathering attracted a virtual who’s who of the restaurant industry’s elites, fashioning itself into a sort of Davos for the restaurant industry. Past gatherings have featured Olivier Roellinger, David Chang, Redzepi, Kat Kinsman, Ferran Adrià, José Andrés, Alex Atala, and Massimo Bottura to name a few.

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