Back in 2005, Italian food writer Andrea Petrini teamed up with chef Fulvio Pierangelini to start putting on a few small, local events with a few other chefs. Their first event saw major chefs such as Massimo Bottura, Petter Nilsson and Andoni Luis Aduriz take part. This collaboration – called Gelinaz! – was the start of a series of events with a punk rock feel that brings together the world’s best chefs to cook one-off dinners across the globe. There are now over seventy chefs involved in the collective, including René Redzepi, Magnus Nilsson, Alain Ducasse, Albert Adria and David Chang. Events have taken place in Lima, Ghent and New York, and last year saw the first Gelinaz! Shuffle, where thirty-seven chefs from across the world swap restaurants – all on the same night.
This year it’s London’s turn to get the full Gelinaz! treatment. The latest event is called Walk With Us and brings together fourteen chefs to cook in two Shoreditch-based restaurants, Lyle’s and The Clove Club, creating a sixteen-course menu for 100 diners. However, it’s much more than just a one-off dinner. ‘We hope to give guests the opportunity to be part of a never seen before performance,’ says Andrea. ‘We’re shedding a different light on what is perceived as a typical dining experience and reinterpreting a standard menu.
‘We’ve decided to hold a second version of the Shuffle at the end of 2016,’ adds Alexandra Swenden, who joined Andrea in 2012 to help develop Gelinaz! further. ‘In order to ‘walk towards the Shuffle’, we decided to set up four pre-events in some of the main cities where it will be held, the first of which is London.’
The food at Gelinaz! Walk With Us will showcase the participating chefs’ raw talent. They are divided into pairs and tasked with designing a four-course menu together. Every one of the duos, however, will have to use identical ingredients, showcasing the different cooking styles and methods of each chef. ‘The chefs are primarily responsible for organising themselves,’ says Andrea. ‘They’re working in pairs and won’t get any assistants, so it’s an exhausting but hopefully rewarding experience for them. We’ve already matched them up and they’re currently in the process of designing their menus together.’