Portuguese Michelin star chef José Avillez is one of the speakers

Top chefs come together to discuss future of food sector in midst of pandemic

Several top chefs from Portugal and abroad will be coming together virtually next Monday and Tuesday (May 4-5), from 11am to 7pm, to discuss the impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on the gastronomy sector and how the sector is changing because of it.

The talks, entitled ‘Power of Food’, are organised by Sangue na Guelra and will be streamed live on the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages. The links to the talks will be published on both social media pages on Thursday, April 30.

The list of speakers is impressive and is headed by Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York.

Also participating is José Avillez, Portugal’s Michelin star chef whom CNN said in 2016 was “revolutionising Portuguese food”.

The rest of the list is equally remarkable, featuring several other chefs and representatives from other sectors such as Joan Roca, Andoni Aduriz, Gaggan Anand, Mauro Colagreco, Alex Atala, Miguel Poiares Maduro, Daniel Humm, Alexandre Silva, Vasco Coelho Santos, Ana Roš, Bo Songvisava and Dylan Jones, Henrique Sá Pessoa, Rui Sanches, Rafael Tonon, André Magalhães, Miguel Pires, Alexandra Prado Coelho and João Wengorovius.

The live talks are aimed at food sector professionals as well as the general public, being translated from Portuguese and Spanish into English.

As organisers Sangue na Guelra say, there is an “urgent need to discuss the power of food and the impact of the pandemic on the industry”.

“The world is plunged into an unprecedented health, social and economic crisis. All continents, all countries, all classes, all sectors – we have all been brutally hit. In three or four days, we went from experiencing one of the richest and most effervescent moments ever in the Portuguese and worldwide food scene to the biggest crisis that we can remember,” they say.

“At this moment, about 75% of hotels and restaurants in Portugal are closed and more than half have no plans to reopen. Globally, the situation is similar, and in many countries even worse. But we are not willing to give up. We want to use the means at our disposal to be part of the solution.”

During the talks, the speakers will discuss and attempt to answer a series of questions, such as: how will the food sector recover from such a huge blow?; How will independent restaurants survive?; How can the sector deal with the change of priorities and consumption habits?; What new strategies should be implemented?; and what future can fine dining expect?