Gastronomika has come to an end, another year for the culinary conference that has 18 others under its belt. The format of cooking demo and chat is the standard, filling the huge theater of the Kursaal with those who are fascinated by the movements of the worldwide culinary scene. While the format itself is antiquated and rendered questionably close to obsolete by the internet, there is still something very cool about being so close to these chefs. Seeing their mannerisms, their movements, listening to what happens between scripted lines.
This year I found myself reporting for ETB radio one afternoon from the fair. The fería is one of the best loved parts of San Sebastián Gastronomika. There are those who bash it, but in truth it is one of the only gatherings of its size and heft in Spain. Stands with everything from (typical) jamón ibérico to (atypical) micro greens line the halls of the Kursaal Congress Center. It's a place to mingle and rub elbows with everyone from famous chefs to wannabe culinary students.
There's Nacho Manzano on the Kursaal main theater stage, a great example of the Spanish chef representing his region (Asturias) with passion and armed with years of knowledge. He touted the excellence of the river products of the region, fish, shellfish, etc before making a triple threat dish with tuna belly, sardine skin and anchovy cream.
Gastronomika by the numbers:
- 1,567 attendees
- Countries represented: 37
- Stands: 160
- 410 people working
- Feria visitors: 13m252
- Accredited journalists: 412
- Schools and interns present: 600