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“Food Meets Art” at the Guggenheim, Bilbao

S.Pellegrino

S.Pellegrino, the world’s leading sparkling mineral water with over a century-long heritage of Italian good taste and lifestyle, once again celebrated the excellence of gastronomy, at the 2018 edition of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, dedicating a special event to the inspiring crossover between different creative disciplines, namely food and art.

Slide to watch the pictures from the event “Food meets Art” at Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Food Meets Art”, held at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, host city for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year, brought together two of the best chefs in the world, Alain Passard and Massimo Bottura, both famous for their love of art, together with Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos and architect/designer Giulio Cappellini, for a fascinating discussion chaired by curator Marta Arzak, who herself is part of a gastronomical dynasty (the Arzak restaurant in San Sebastian).

Those assembled pondered on the emotion of flavour and whether chefs can call themselves artists – “Chefs are not artists,” argued Bottura, who himself takes great inspiration from the likes of the artists Ai Weiwei and Joseph Beuys, but “artisans obsessed with quality” – and exactly what it takes to be contemporary. “To be contemporary, you must experiment, experiment, experiment!” argued Cappellini, who drew a fundamental parallel between all creative pursuits, namely the shared wonder in the natural world, and spoke of how he tells the young people he meets on his frequent visits to universities that “there are millions of things to invent and do,” and not to feel like everything creative and worthwhile has already been done.

Vasconcelos is an artist who takes great inspiration from the kitchen, indeed many of her artworks feature kitchen objects: “The kitchen is the most fascinating room in the house,” she said, “because it has lot of objects I can use.” She is taking the crossover of food and art to quite literally another level with her latest project: a life size wedding cake made of ceramic, through which you can ascend to become traditional, but very real, wedding cake figurines!

Alain Passard, who himself likes to paint, sees beauty in everything since establishing the gardens that feed his largely plant-based and highly seasonal offer at L'Arpege in Paris. In fact, the gardens have revived him as a chef: “I think cooking is the most beautiful job in the world,” he said.

That passion is something Bottura wants to put into every bite at his Osteria Francescana restaurant, where he looks to examine the traditions of the Emilia-Romagna region with a critical eye. “You have to break things to guarantee a new future,” he said, taking inspiration from Ai Weiwei. “Chefs make the invisible, visible ... you just need a little poetry.”

With plenty to think about, the assembled guests were led, post discussion, to the atrium of the museum for a unique gastronomic experience: S.Pellegrino’s “The Journey of Water” project, led by Cappellini, for which designers Steven Haulenbeek, Neri&Hu and Phillippe Nigro have reinterpreted the famous S.Pellegrino bottle, was the inspiration for a series of small dishes from chef Josean Alija of the one-Michelin-starred Nerua restaurant at the Guggenheim, using some of the best local ingredients, including sardines and tear peas, and the region’s famous pil pil sauce.

Also, make sure to follow S.Pellegrino on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtags #Sanpellegrino and #TastefullyItalian where there will be updates and backstage peeks on this highly anticipated event of the gastronomy world.

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