The 2017 Young Chefs: Deborah Ryan and Girish Nayak.
Deborah Ryan, one of the 2017 Young Chefs, reflects on her experience at the Symposium
I first heard about the Oxford Symposium through my university lecturer, Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire, a trustee of the symposium. I had been looking to broaden my knowledge of gastronomy outside university and to push myself into new fields.
I began cooking at age 16 in the restaurant kitchen of Ballymaloe House in Cork, Ireland. I would cook here in the summers and holidays when I wasn’t at school. I started to connect to the ethos of using local ingredients and suppliers. I took a year off before starting university and travelled to work in San Francisco then Rome. I worked as an intern in the Rome Sustainable Food Project, started by Alice Waters. This completely changed my cooking style and introduced me to the importance of sustainability in food. I returned to Ireland to study a degree in Culinary Arts in Dublin. Last summer I did an internship working in River Cottage, UK. When I learned that the 2017 theme of the symposium was “Food and Landscape”, I knew I would find it fascinating. Continue reading →
Harold McGee, a trustee of the Symposium, introduces the 2018 Young Chef Grant
It’s time to spread the good word again: the Oxford Symposium invites young culinarians to apply for grants to participate in this year’s edition, 6-8 July. The application deadline is 1 March 2018.
The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery is the original international food conference, now in its fourth decade, and open to anyone who’s interested, professional or amateur, chef or student. I attended my first in 1985. It’s impressive not only for the range of subjects and participants and contributions, but also for the convivial communal meals, which nowadays are prepared by guest chefs to illuminate each year’s theme. (They’ve come a long way since 1985!) Continue reading →
The Symposium’s President, Claudia Roden, pays tribute to Harlan Walker who passed away on 16th December 2017
Harlan Walker was the much loved angel of the Oxford Symposium, for years seeing to absolutely everything that made the Symposium possible, from editing and printing the papers to organizing and running the registration and catering arrangements.
He ran everything single handedly, sometimes with the help of his son Philip and other members of his family, until the early 2000s. He continued to attend trustee meetings giving advice and helping to solve problems even when he was unwell. Continue reading →
Volker Bach continues his occasional series on German historical recipes.
In modern German cuisine, apfelmus is a ubiquitous staple usually served with potato pancakes or as a dessert in its own right. Supermarkets sell industrially produced versions cheaply in glass jars or carton packages, and organic makers often combine theirs with other fruit or spices to make it more interesting. It looks entirely like a product of the twentieth century, but this commonplace food has a long and noble tradition. Continue reading →
The Trustees report on feedback from the 2017 Symposium
After the Symposium this past July, we asked Symposiasts to leave us feedback in our online Visitor’s Book. Thank you to everyone for your many constructive and insightful ideas! We are in the process of looking into the feasibility of your suggestions, great and small. Continue reading →
Girish Nayak, one of the 2017 Young Chefs, reflects on his experience at the Symposium
Please tell us about your career to date.
I started baking when I was 18 years old in my college bakery and I wasn’t really interested in taking it up as a profession during my time there. Once I finished college, I started working in local halwa shops and bakeries in a Southern coastal part of India called Udupi. It was here that it got really interesting: the products that were created from just flour, water, yeast and salt were just amazing. Wanting to get more knowledge in this field. I enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. I used to bake bread part time at the school and during my time in New York I got to work and intern under some of the best pastry chefs in the country at Jean George, Gotham Bar and Grill, Bouchon Bakery, Amy Bread Bakery. I left NYC and came back to India to try and help develop an Indian pastry/baking program. Now I help run a bakery which caters to two restaurants called Olive Beach and Toast and Tonic in Bangalore. I am also an adjunct professor in the baking and pastry program at the Manipal University. Continue reading →
The second edition of Sir Hugh Plat’s book on gardening.
‘…Such as are old and withered, or else… such as are stark naught’ – Symposiast Malcolm Thick on the variable quality of garden seeds in early Modern England
Without seeds it is impossible to grow most vegetables and, as bread is made from ground seeds, that too would not exist without them. Seeds are therefore the starting point of most gardening and I hope to discuss imports of new types of vegetable seed at the 2018 Symposium. Meanwhile, many of you will be familiar with the biblical parable of the sower in Matthew 13:
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
The Saturday evening dinner at the 2017 Symposium was ‘Landscape: Compliments of the Soil – Flavours from the Armenian and Turkish Borderlands organized by Gamze Íneceli and Íhsan Karayazi in association with the MSA the Culinary Arts Academy.
The MSA Academy of Istanbul have generously shared their recipes for Chard Leaves Stuffed with Emmer and Sour Cherries; Barlotti Bean Puree with Pickled Carrots and Pastirma and Aubergine, Courgette and Strained Yogurt with Lavash Crisps. Continue reading →