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How to Get Into MAD 5, René Redzepi's Groundbreaking Food Symposium

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The world's most talked about food conference is back


Danish chef René Redzepi and his team are bringing MAD back. Following a year off and the recent announcement of a pop-up MAD in Sydney, we now have all of the details about MAD 5, set to take place in Copenhagen on August 28 and 29.

The team writes in a email to past attendees and press, "We spent the past eighteen months thinking hard about what MAD is, and what we want it to be. We listened to lots of opinions and considered what needs to change in order for MAD to spark real action and fuel new initiatives in our industry." This year's theme is Tomorrow's Kitchen, and hopes to answer two key questions: What do we hope our kitchens will be like in the future? And, what can we do today to make those dreams a reality?

Redzepi says that while the event will include speakers and presentations as usual, it will be more collaborative than it has in years past. That means breakout discussion sessions led by attendees (more on that below), in an effort to get those who travel to MAD to be more than passive audience members.

One thing has definitely not changed: Attendance is guaranteed by application only, and it seems the bar has been raised for who gets in. "We are looking for people who are really committed to the industry, people who feel the urgency of improving the kitchen in 2016 and also understand the importance of the long term," MAD writes. This isn't meant to keep out non-industry folks, however: "We also want to learn from those outside the trade, and encourage anyone with an interest in changing cooking for the better to apply for a ticket."

It now costs $445 (3,000 DKK) to attend MAD (the price covers meals and boat transport to the tent), so at the very least the price is likely to screen out those without a sponsorship. Applications are currently being accepted.

There is one loophole — you can attend for free if you propose a breakout discussion session and lead it:

We're opening the floor to ideas or questions about improving our craft. We're open to anything that addresses the topic — from the practical, to the abstract, to the visionary. If you're interested in helping to lead one of these conversations, you can submit a proposal for a talk, a discussion group, or a workshop relevant to one of the two main questions of this year's symposium. If your proposal is accepted, you'll receive an invitation to join MAD5 free of charge. If your proposal doesn't quite fit, we'll automatically put you in the general applicant pool to be considered for an invitation to MAD5.

Breakout session applications must be submitted by April 14.

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