By Jason Tesauro, December 3, 2016
Powerhouse women convened for one of the most highly-anticipated seminars at MAD5, the international food symposium in Copenhagen in August. Yet its speaker, chef Iliana Regan, hadn’t prepared a word. And then, off the cuff, she nailed two hot-button issues chefs face: gender roles in the kitchen and the industry’s mental health. “I know my business, my craft, but I can barely some days get out of bed,” Regan said. “It’s the topic I don’t want to talk about, but it’s necessary. Why am I having the best year of my life and still taking Wellbutrin?”
This kind of gravitas is what Noma’s Rene Redzepi intended when he founded MAD (Danish for “food”) with Momofuku’s David Chang. “Typical food festivals are about the now of your menu and showing your marvels,” he said. “But MAD is about community- building, problem-solving.” Now in its fifth year, MAD aims to improve the global state of food, empower the industry’s people, and connect communities to their seasons and landscapes.