Four Guipuzkoans took on the role of proud kitchen assistants for three Indian chefs and four locals at the first Popular event at San Sebastian Gastronomika – Euskadi Basque Country. 

Gastronomika will be open to the city on Sunday, when the activities at the Kursaal kick off with four free presentations with an Asian accent and the opening of Street Food at the entrance to the conference hall.

When it is sunny, the people of San Sebastian take to the streets. At noon, Gastronomika 17 started its activities prior to the congress in an open format with a great atmosphere on the Boulevard. The “Chef for a Day” event, sponsored by Súper Amara, brought together seven professional chefs and four amateurs to cook alongside each other. The Indians, or who cook Indian cuisine, Ivan Surinder (Tandoor, Barcelona), J.P. Singh (Bukhara, Delhi) and Saurabh Udinia (Masala Library, Delhi) and the four “locals”, Enrique Fleischmann (Bailara, Bidania), Iñigo Lavado (Singular, Irún), Rubén Trincado (Mirador de Ulía, San Sebastián) and Gorka Txapartegi (Alameda, Hondarribia) cooked with four assistants: two adults and two children, winners of the draw made by Súper Amara for a first-hand experience like no other, if you like cooking. Passers-by were also able to get involved, by starting to learn about the Asian aromas which will tinge the air at this year’s Gastronomika.

“It’s the heartbeat of a city that loves gastronomy. Chef for a Day is our way of giving back some of the affection that the city has shown us”, explained the director of Gastronomika, Roser Torras. Because it is an activity without which Gastronomika would not be the same. The more than 1,000 tickets that were received for the draw are testimony to this. They have made the city theirs, and this Saturday they celebrated. The kitchen installed in the kiosk on the Boulevard was working non-stop. It was used to cook recipes with chicken, scallops or amusing creations in a tapa and kebab/skewer format in front of the public, seasoned with culinary tips from the mouth of the chef and journalist Juan Mari Mañero, the presenter of the event.

Mañero presented; the chefs and assistants cooked. Lavado started with four kebabs/skewers with different products which are “perfect for making at home”; Txapartegi demonstrated the richness of the vegetable garden in a recipe using organic tomatoes; Fleischmann opted for a seafood cocktail and Trinca brought us a Coc & Coc chicken, trying five different parts of it. At the end, and winning over the people, the latter distributed three chickens among the audience.

After the demonstration of local cuisine, the three Indians applied the aroma. Saurabh Udinia showed how in India, where he has his restaurant, they also use western fish, with a recipe of scallops with coriander, and J.P. Singh and Ivan Surinder used chicken again, but in his own style, in this case in the oven with spices and traditional curry, respectively. All three showed the grandeur of a cuisine that has come to stay, with spices and curry, but also with another thousand ingredients and ways that the public has begun to understand. Especially the four participating assistants, who were able to work with the chefs and taste the dishes.

The sun was on high when the event ended. The restaurants in the area and private kitchens of those who went to the event will certainly now know a few more things. Gastronomika 17 has begun.

A Sunday of Indian cuisine and the Popular event at Gastronomika

The gastronomic party of the congress changes location on Sunday and moves to the Kurssal, where it will stay. From Monday on, the conference centre will host the main event, with conference delegates, entrepreneurs and products, but before that, Gastronomika will be open to the public with Popular Sunday. Three Indian speakers (Varun Mohan, J.P. Singh and Ivan Surinder, who will be back in front of the public) will teach the public how to prepare some of the best known dishes from the Asian country in an easy and entertaining way starting at 11.30 am. In addition, Spanish chef Andreu Genestra (Restaurant Andreu Genestra, Capdepera) will complete the open programme on the first day of the congress with a talk that will provide a mental bridge on the influence of Mediterranean spices. This will all take place in the Chamber Hall of the Kursaal Conference Centre.

When he has finished, at midday Street Food will occupy the entry porch of the Kursaal and offer the potent flavours of Indian street food made by selected performers up until 7 pm. This will be a chance to enjoy a spectacular, unprecedented display of remarkable street food from India exclusively at San Sebastian Gastronomika – Euskadi Basque Country, over the three days of the congress from 11 am to 8 pm (Street Food will end at 6 pm on the last day of the congress). Specifically, you can try Allo Tikki (potato croquettes), Dahi Papdi (a salad of yoghurt, tamarind and cherry tomatoes) and Dal Makhnit Jeera (lentil stew). For everyone, when you want. Indian cuisine, on the entry porch of the Kursaal.