Thursday, December 7, 2017

Malmann


I was very moved when I watched a Chef's Table episode of Francis Malmann.  Malmann, an Argentine, is one of the most famous celebrity chefs of Latin America, a longtime on-camera personality like Julia Child and has been inducted into the International Institute of Gastronomy along with other great chefs like Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud.  The Chef's Table episode depicts Malmann cooking various dishes on his property on a remote island of Patagonia using primitive fire cooking techniques.  Here was a chef who not only produced great food in a dramatic way in beautiful scenery, but seemed to have a philosophical system that matched the cooking's intensity and complexity.  In every scene, he not only talks of the food and his methods, but the attributes which the different heating methods evokes, the femininity of fire, the ways in which he cultivates his employees, and so forth.  Here was the chef as fully realized philosophical being, independent of the constraints of modern restaurant gastronomy, independent of the pressures of capitalism and the money-making of food.  Smoking his cigar and sitting by a massive bonfire, he appeared rather content to be thousands of miles away from the nearest Michelin-starred restaurant.

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