Alessandro Porcelli announces Cook It Raw 2014
Cook It Raw – the annual, globetrotting gathering for culinary research and development – will explore the Mayan world for its seventh edition. Under the helm of gastronaut and adventurer Alessandro Porcelli, and known for giving up-and-comers the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the world’s top culinary luminaries, Cook It Raw is an exercise in discovery and collaboration where some of the most pressing questions in food politics, creativity and global sustainability are addressed.
Taking place in four sessions from April through November, Cook It Raw’s 2014 program will be a radical departure from past gatherings. Off The Grid & On The Road Named after the Beat Lit classic and a yearning for the freedom and adventure of unstructured study, Cook It Raw Off The Grid & On The Road convenes its first session this week from April 4th to 9th. Built around the concept of landscape as muse, the program will have participants travel the Mayan region, meeting an international community of expat chefs, producers and artisans who have been drawn to this ancient corner of the world to create, participate and relate to their environment. They will also learn about the history and spirituality of the local culture, getting first-hand experience with cultivating and harvesting the milpa, participating in contemporary social customs, ancient rituals and in the process, gain a deep understanding of the place and its global influence.
Using experiential methodologies, the program will evolve from the landscape, people, raw materials, ingredients, music and stories that are encountered during road trips – shaping the direction of investigation and revealing connections between place and plate. “Like Sal Paradise in On The Road, I am motivated by a relentless questioning, a desire to find meaning in a most fundamental way. For me, it is to ask the question – how are we to live?” says Cook It Raw director, Alessandro Porcelli. “Food is life. What drives me, and my desire for a constantly evolving Cook It Raw, is our connection to the soil, to people and the rituals we use to create community. These are the questions that will help us understand the issues facing our planet today,” he adds. Exclusive Cook It Raw content through VICE Media For this edition, Cook It Raw has partnered with VICE, a leading global youth media company, to produce exclusive content from Off The Grid & On The Road, available to viewers worldwide through VICE.com and featured on their social media platforms. VICE will create a four-part series based on the Cook It Raw sessions held in April, June, August and November in different locations throughout the Mayan world. As well, we are pleased to join forces with our local media partner, Animal Gourmet, who will report on our progress. With our local chef leaders Roberto Solis (Nectar) and Eric Werner (Hartwood), we welcome star of Paradise Kitchen, Gioconda Scott (Trasierra), Chef de Cuisine Tyler Shedden (Café Boulud), Chef Benito Molina (Restaurant Manzanilla) and California cuisine legend Jeremiah Tower to our first session. Internationally celebrated sculptor Jorge Pardo will lead the discourse, presenting his views on collaborative cultural production. “I’m interested in creating situations where aesthetic problems interface with sensorial involuntary experiences,” says Pardo. “For example, when you put chocolate in your mouth it naturally melts at human body temperature. There is no interference in this connection – it just happens! That’s what we’re looking to create with this session of Cook It Raw,” he adds.
A committee of chefs, artists, global public health thought leaders and our local network of producers, academics and community members will shape the agenda and discussion, with a VICE camera crew on-site, capturing spontaneous discovery as it happens. About Cook It Raw Founded by Alessandro Porcelli and launched in 2009, Cook It Raw is an annual gathering that brings together internationally recognized, avant-garde chefs, traditional food producers and academics to discuss and explore innovation and collaboration within cuisine. Now in its seventh iteration, the gathering provides an arena for true exchange and encourages innovation on the plate, while at the same time addressing environmental, social, and cultural issues.
In creating an opportunity for participants to share and develop their skills and knowledge, Cook It Raw leaves its creative mark on both the chefs who travel from all over the world, and the cultural life of the host country. By sparking new personal and creative connections, Cook It Raw not only helps to highlight traditional foodways, but influences the ideas and techniques of some of the most innovative chefs in the world, and in doing so advances the very future of cuisine. Director Alessandro Porcelli has recently written Cook It Raw, a compendium of the first four gatherings, featuring contributions from leading food writers and ‘Raw’ supporters such as Anthony Bourdain, Jeffrey Steingarten and Andrea Petrini. Published by Phaidon, Cook It Raw was launched in April 2013 and is available online through the Phaidon store and Amazon.