Some Scenes from MAD3

The third annual MAD Symposium came to a close yesterday evening after two days of some of the most informative and soulful talks we’ve ever seen on Refshaleøen. On the first day, there were presentations from Mexican gastronomic authority Diana Kennedy, OG Scandinavian forager Roland Rittman, glaciologist Jason Box and author Jon Reiner, an impassioned butchering demonstration from Dario Cecchini and a wild ride courtesy of artist David Choe. Lunch was prepared by the women of Souk el Tayeb

There will be more about Souk el Tayeb appearing on this site in the future, but it’s worth pointing out a few things about this group. Souk el Tayeb as we know it now evolved from an experimental project to establish Lebanon’s first farmers market. In the years since, it has become that and much more: a vibrant community of people of different religions and backgrounds throughout the country, united by their love of food. Tawlet, Souk el Tayeb’s farmers kitchen and restaurant, brings in a rotating cast of female home cooks from all over Lebanon to make affordable meals. Due to the fact that Lebanese society remains largely patriarchal, some of these cooks have never been able to step out of their homes to earn a living. 

There are now Tawlets in Beirut and Ammiq. 

For MAD3, we got all the members of Tawlet to come cook lunch on the first day of the festival. It seemed an insurmountable task getting over 20 people, some of whom had never left Lebanon before, to come out to Copenhagen and make food for six-hundred symposium attendees. 

But it happened. On the day the ladies arrived into town, we witnessed them schooling the chefs of Momofuku Ko and Noma in the prep kitchen, and the stories they shared about getting involved with Souk el Tayeb and its affable and visionary organizer Kamal Mouzawak moved everyone on staff, even in the midst of the strenuous final planning stages of MAD. 

At one point, when introducing himself to everyone at MAD, Mouzawak self-effacingly referred to the fact that his restaurants don’t have any Michelin stars. 

That may be so, but everyone who came to MAD realized that they’ve got much more. 

Above, you’ll find some early scenes from the festival.