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36. Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel

"My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life. . .” - - Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019; Chef-partner of Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019


MADRID FUSIÓN 2011 January 25, 26 & 27, 2011 Headliners: Ferran Adrià, Juan Mari Arzak, Joan Roca, rising Catalan star Jordi Cruz, Mexican chefs Bricio Domínguez and Martha Ortiz, Peruvian star Gastón Acurio, Chefs from Singapore and Flanders, Along with Carlo Cracco and Slow Food's Carlo Petrini from Italy.

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 Ferran Adrià in a pensive moment at Madrid Fusión 2009. 
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2009

The 9th annual Madrid Fusión International Gastronomy Summit will take place in Madrid on January 25, 26 & 27.  Headlining the conference, as he has every year since its inception in 2003, will be Ferran Adrià, who will give his annual estado de Ferranismo (state of Ferranismo) address on opening day, this one entitled El Nuevo Bulli.

Chicago's Grant Achatz at Madrid Fusión 2009. 
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2009.

This time Ferran will  elaborate further on the permanent closing of elBulli, "the world's best restaurant," on July 31, something he has done frequently for the past year since announcing the restaurant's closing at Madrid Fusión 2010 in a bombastic press conference that produced an explosion of articles about Ferran that could be described as the espuma (foam) that frothed around the gastronomic world--in record time.  Presumably, Ferran will enlighten this year's audience about his more definitive plans for the elBulli foundation (read Ferranismo think tank), when it opens in 2014 on the site of elBulli restaurant on Cala Montjoi, the legendary hard-to-get-to cove near Roses (Girona).   And certainly, we should hear more about the January opening in Barcelona Tickets, the flagship of undoubtedly will be become a string of tapas-and-cocktail bars that Ferran and his brother, Albert, have in the works.

Other highlights planned for Madrid Fusión 2010 include appearances by star Spanish Basque chefs Juan Mari Arzak, Elena Arzak, Martín Berasategui, Pedro Subijana, Andoni Aduriz and Eneko Atxa; Catalan stars Joan Roca and his brother Jordi, Carme Ruscalleda, Ramón Freixa and Jordi Cruz, a superb young chef who recently moved from the wonderful off-the-beaten-path provincial restaurant L'Angle (located next to Fundación Alicia near Manresa) to take over at Barcelona's tony Restaurante Abac.   Stars from other parts of Spain such as Quique DaCosta (Alicante), Mari Carmen Vélez (Alicante), Dani García (Andalucía) and Angel León (Andalucía).  Madrid chefs will include Paco Roncero (La Terraza),  Sergi Arola (Arola Gastro) and Ricardo Sanz (Kabuki  Wellington).   

The region of Galicia will be represented by transplanted Italian  chef Flavio Morganti (Galileo, Ourense) and Beatriz Sotelo (La Estación, A Coruña) plus Iago Pazos y Marcos Cerqueiro, two young rising stars who run an exceptional  tapas restaurant, Abastos 2.0, in the Santiago de Compostela market.  On the sweet side, super stars include the great pasteleros-chocolateros Christían Escribà, Oriol Balaguer, Jordi Butrón, Paco Torreblanca and Jacob Torreblanca.

Mexico and South America chefs invited include Mexico's Bricio Domínguez and Martha Ortiz, with Peruvian star Gastón Acurio.  Italy will be represented by the great Carlo Cracco and Carlo Petrini of Slow Food.

Each year, Madrid Fusión has a sub-theme representing the cuisines of a single country--Mexico, Perú, Japan.  This year Singapore will be represented with chefs Matthew Bax (Trippling Club), former Restaurant Daniel (New York) and elBulli stagier Kevin Cherkas (Blu) and French-trained (Ducasse and Gagnaire) rising star Andre Chiang (Restaurant Andre) and Flanders will feature presentations from chefs Bernard Lahousse (Sense for Taste, Bruges, Belgium), Dave De Belder (De Godevaart, Antwerp) and Gert de Mangeleer (Restaurant Hertong Jan, Bruges).  

The first version of Madrid Fusión in 2003 was a huge success and launched a plethora of international food conferences and spawned numerous imitators in Spain itself.  Each year it seems something of note that resounds throughout the culinary world occurs here.  

Nobu & Ferran, Madrid Fusión 2004. 
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2004. Contact

Among the most memorable were the appearance of France's nouvelle cuisine super stars  and Nobu Matsuhisa in 2004, the appearance of Thomas Keller and awards to several great American culinary stars in 2006 (see photo below), Santi Santamaría's spectacularly scandalous declarations deriding Spanish cocina de vangaurdia practitioners in 2007--"The only truth that counts is the product   comes from the earth, passes from our stoves to the diner's mouth, and is then defecated."--and Ferran Adria's bomba announcement last year that he was closing elBulli.

The late Michael Batterberry, publisher-editor of Food Arts magazine, speaking at Madrid Fusión 2006
with a stage full of American and Spanish culinary stars as Mayor of Madrid Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón and Ferran Adrià applaud, with Juan Mari Arzak between them.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2010. Contact


  1. I've been looking for your for so many years! How did we miss each other? Finally, an anglophone food writer who knows Spain like the back of his hand.

  2. Many, many thanks, Jonell. Much appreciated. My best, Gerry


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