The official festivities for the fourth annual MAD Symposium have ended in Copenhagen and attendees are on their way home. There have already been full recaps of the lectures on day one and on day two, which means it's now time to rehash the weekend of food and gossip. Here now, your MAD 4 hangover observations:
1) Chef Justin Yu of Houston's Oxheart was cooking with Christian Puglisi at Relae on Saturday night.
2) Actors Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard were in Copenhagen over the weekend on what seemed like a family vacation that involved a lot of strong dining choices. First, Bon Appétit executive editor Christine Muhlke saw the couple at Noma on Friday night, but apparently no one else noticed them because there were so many great chefs in the house that night. On Saturday night, an Eater editor spotted them having dinner as a family at Manfred's, Christian Puglisi's wine bar.
Nordic Food Lab head chef Roberto Flore. [Photo: Amy McKeever/Eater]
3) On Sunday, day one of the symposium, the Nordic Food Lab guys were offering people tastes of their ant-infused gin. Their new head chef, Roberto Flore, also had a tub of worm-infested Sardinian cheese in his backpack that people could try if they were lucky enough to talk with him.
4) Writer and culinary dude behind Gelinaz and other culinary adventures Andrea Petrini helped introduce chef Fulvio Pierangelini on Sunday and stayed onstage throughout the lecture, smoking an e-cig.
5) For some reason, René Redzepi kept asking attendees how their constipation was going.
6) Naturally, there was food and drink everywhere all weekend. At the symposium itself, Mikkeller made a few beers especially for the event (including a malt liquor with Roy Choi's face on the label), while Noma prepared buttermilk ice cream cones. Coffee roasters from around the world showed up to keep people super caffeinated via both an espresso bar and a brew bar. In addition to chef-prepared lunches, there was also a strong breakfast spread each morning with bread, cheese, jam, meat, and pastries. Attendees were dining at all the usual suspects: Noma, Relae, Manfred's, etc, with especial praise coming from all corners for the excellence of Matt Orlando's year-old Amass.
7) This is just a partial list of non-presenting folks at the symposium: Chris Kostow, Paul Qui and his team, Justin Yu, Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo, Danny Bowien, Jim Meehan, Peter Meehan, Brad McDonald, James Lowe, Christian Puglisi, Matt Orlando, Sat Bains, Dario Cecchini, Massimo Bottura, Niklas Ekstedt, Bo Bech, Jorge Vallejo, Edgar Nunez, Elena Reygadas, Benito Molina, Gabriela Camara, Rodrigo Oliveira, Virgilio Martinez, etc.
Team Qui at MAD 4. [Photo: faimfatale/Instagram]
8) Though attendees had to put together minute-long videos on the first day as their ticket to the after-party, those videos didn't appear to have been screened anywhere. They were probably pretty bad, so apologies to the Noma team on behalf of everyone.
9) Speaking of the after-party, once again it was held underneath a bridge in Copenhagen, just a boat ride away from the MAD site. Bubbly came first on the canal banks and then a seated dinner at picnic tables directly under the bridge. Redzepi and the Noma team addressed everyone at the beginning of the meal, with Redzepi banging on pans to get everyone's attention. Massimo Bottura led the crowd in singing happy birthday to his fellow Italian chef Fulvio Pierangelini.
10) Atelier September provided the multi-course meal that consisted entirely of raw vegetables, including gigantic beet roots and leftover salad bundles from Noma. That did bring a little grumbling from some quarters, including one woman overheard leaving the party saying, "I'm heading off to get a burger. I'm fucking starving."
11) Fortunately for anyone who did want meat, Danny Bowien was in town preparing a Mission Chinese pop-up for the after-after party at Llama. He was serving smoked lamb mapo, mussel congee, chongqing chicken gizzards, and more.