On Sunday, René Redzepi’s culinary symposium MAD kicked off in Copenhagen. For the sixth iteration of the conference, 600 chefs and industry professionals from 58 countries gathered for two days of discussion on how to better the industry for everyone. And alongside serious talks about creating supportive spaces for women and people of color and combatting global warming, there also appeared to be some serious bonding inside the MAD tent among the attendees who paid upwards of $550 to be there. In fact, it’s quite possible that the foraging-happy MAD organization is responsible for the world’s best summer camp for food industry elites.
At the end of the second day, MAD executive director Melina Shannon-DiPietro stood at the front of the tent, which was dressed up to look like a Danish forest, and recounted the “once-in-a-lifetime experiences” the group shared, including “helping each other through the rain” and “laughing together.” But, MAD’s work doesn’t end with summer camp’s close — Shannon-DiPietro announced plans for a potential MAD school. But! It’s not time for school quite yet. And so here, now, a few of the summer-campiest moments from MAD 6:
Before the festivities began, Redzepi and David Chang (two roguish camp counselors, if you will) zoomed around the city in a periodic pre-MAD pump-up ritual.
this confirms the start of MAD season pic.twitter.com/tz6x5tWBNn— Hillary Dixler Canavan (@hillarydixler) August 24, 2018
Each day began with the chiming of the #MADgong from Noma CEO Peter Kreiner.
Nina Persson, lead singer of the Cardigans, performed a welcome song.
There was also a brief sing-along to French children’s song “Frère Jacques,” led by Ture Larsen and Randi Beier-Holgersen. It is unclear why.
Later, vedic meditation teacher Michael Miller helped the group find some peace.
In addition to speeches and panel discussions, there were demonstrations. Noma head of fermentation David Zilber explained the principles of the process, and Michelin-starred street food vendor Jay Fai showed everyone how to make one of her famous crab omelets over the (camp)fire.
Food professionals weren’t the only people to take the stage. Philosophy professor Vincent Hendricks gave a talk on why chef behavior matters in the grand scheme of things.
Of course, MAD 6 had the world’s best mess hall. Chef Rosio Sanchez made cauliflower ceviche, and Sqirl chef Jessica Koslow served lettuce wraps for lunch. Chat Thai’s Palisa Anderson made khao yum for breakfast.
Log seesaws made for a great photo op and a good time.
Because MAD wouldn’t be MAD without Noma, plenty of the attendees made excursions to the restaurant and documented the vegetable menu’s highly photogenic truffle-celeriac shawarma and flower pot dessert.
And as the second day came to a close, everyone gathered for a final group photo (and beer and snacks) to commemorate the time spent together and the work that’s to come, until next time.
• MAD [Official]