mad food 4

In just one week, the leaders of the progressive food world will descend on the city of Copenhagen for the fourth installment of MAD Symposium, hosted by the MAD Food group, “a community of chefs, cooks and farmers with an appetite for knowledge.” This year’s event is co-curated by Alex Atala, of the award-winning D.O.M. restaurant in São Paolo. MAD was founded in 2011 by Noma patron-chef Rene Redzepi, and today is run by a team that includes the journalist Gabe Ulla, event organizer Ali Kurshat Altinsoy, Nordic Food Lab anthropologist Mark Emil Tholstrup Hermansen, and Peter Kreiner, director of business development at Noma and an “experience economy” expert.

Past speakers read like a global almanac of prominent chefs, including Alan Ducasse, Roy Choi, David Chang, Wylie Dufresne, Ferran Adrià, Anthony Myint, Dan Barber, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Barbara Lynch, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and many more. In 2013, MAD’s third event (MAD3) was co-curated by Momofuku chef David Chang and Lucky Peach magazine. For this year’s MAD4 event, the MAD braintrust have chosen not to release a list of speakers in advance, stating on their official web blog, MAD Feed, that “for MAD4, we want people to come in open for a surprise.” The theme of MAD4 is “What Is Cooking?”, with more information courtesy of the group:

advert but first coffee cookbook now available


In many ways, this is an incredible time to be a cook.

The public has taken an interest in our traditionally blue-collar trade, opening doors previous generations could never have imagined.

But the more attention our industry receives from television, film, newspapers, magazines and the Internet, the less clear it becomes what it means to cook. A path to celebrity, a means of attaining fortune – the past decade has given rise to a great many things that we know cooking is not. Our goal for MAD4 is to remind ourselves what cooking is.

There are many commonalities between this theme and the modern coffee experience. In fact, in 2014 the worlds of fine food and fine coffee have never been closer. At MAD Symposium, this symbiotic closeness is represented in the form of a truly world-class coffee service curated by Tim Wendelboe, a world champion barista and the owner / operator of his own eponymous Tim Wendelboe Kaffe in Oslo. 2013 marked the debut of coffee at MAD, which operates in a unique style: Wendelboe incorporates coffee and staff from carefully chosen roasters, who together provide service and information to MAD attendees at a series of stations throughout the event. Last year’s roasters included Coffee Collective, Workshop Coffee, Solberg & Hansen, Koppi, and Da Matteo. This year’s featured roasters includes Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters, Mecca Espresso, Drop Coffee, Five Elephant, returning stars Workshop Coffee and Koppi, and more.

Image via Bespoke Water
Image via Bespoke Water

From a coffee perspective, this event is at the very forefront of exposing leaders in the modern food world to the wonders of progressive coffee. It is not an accident that MAD founder Rene Redzepi is currently engaged in a quest to make Noma home to some of the best restaurant coffee in the world. MAD is an entry point for changing minds, and ultimately, practices when it comes to the coffee service at the planet’s top restaurants. It is a remarkable opportunity for coffee.

To capture this moment in the confluence of food and coffee, for the first time will be sending a reporter-attendee to MAD Symposium in Copenhagen. Our coverage at MAD4 will be helmed by Nico Halliday, a London-based Sprudge contributor and working barista who took part in the coffee service at MAD3. Attending and covering MAD4 represents to us the next logical step in our wider coverage of how fine coffee and food intersect around the world, and gives us the chance to learn more about how the best chefs in the world think about coffee. This is an honor and privilege for us, and we thank the team at MAD for granting this rare access to their event.

Coffee service at last year's MAD Symposium, featuring Nico Halliday center. Image via Workshop Coffee.
Coffee service at last year’s MAD Symposium, featuring Nico Halliday, center. Image via Workshop Coffee.

Look for much more coverage on MAD Symposium in the coming weeks on Sprudge. For now, learn more about the event by visiting the MAD Feed, the event’s official web content stream. There you can find video of past speakers, information about the upcoming MAD4 event, and much more. MAD4 happens August 24th-25th in Copenhagen, Denmark.

banner advertising the book new rules of coffee