What We Do

Cook It Raw is an annual gathering of culinary luminaries who explore possibilities of cuisine.

Our programme showcases ideas, issues, people and ingredients that are fundamental to the iconic, site-specific cuisines in our areas of focus. Through immersive strategies, COOK IT RAW participants are able to examine local food systems, understand the narrative of the area, apply these ideas to their own work and become advocates for change.

Providing an arena for true exchange, the gathering not only encourages innovation on the plate, but addresses environmental, social, and cultural issues as well. Moreover, by creating an opportunity for participants to share and develop their skills and knowledge, Cook it Raw leaves its creative mark on both: the chefs who travel and the cultural life of the host country.
Cook It Raw endavours to spark new personal and creative connections, that will not only help to preserve foodways in danger of extinction but will also influence the ideas and techniques of some of the most innovative chefs in the world, advancing, in other words, the very future of cuisine.

Our gatherings are based around three different types of experiences.

1. Ingredients
This experience is all about the type, the use, history, provenance, production, adaption, exchange and knowledge about regional ingredients.

2. Cooking Methods & Techniques
This experience is all about the evolution of methods, regional skills, transfer of cooking skills, education, approach, history, cultural shift.

3. The local culinary industry: communication and presentation of food
This experience is about creativity, creating memorable experiences and the way food and culinary experiences can be communicated, represented, publicised, commercialized.


Our methodologies are inspired by four guiding principles – tradition, sustainability, collaboration and creativity.

Objectives
  • Using cuisine to address social, cultural and environmental issues.
  • Encouraging cultural exchange and understanding
  • Fostering the exchange, preservation, and development of skills and knowledge
  • Building friendships and a spirit of collaboration between chefs, participants and the host country
  • Pushing the creative envelope, and leading the way to a new vision of cuisine and what it can do
Our Participants

For each edition, Cook It Raw selects a group of emerging, influential and creative culinary luminaries. In order to qualify for selection candidates need to have track record of sustainable practices. This includes for example: local food sourcing, the use of organically farmed products, a good understanding of responsible waste and water management as well as involvement in community outreach programs on sustainable food topics. In addition candidates need to prove good team and lateral thinking skills. All need to have an expertise in having worked in a foreign country, manage their own restaurant and willing to take risks.
How We Work

Each time Cook It Raw sets up a gathering, it delves into the fabric of some of the most intriguing destinations on earth and investigates their most interesting traditions. After days of immersion and engagement, the chefs present their discoveries on a plate, giving our guests—and worldwide following — a different sensory perspective on a destination they may or may not be familiar with.

In order to create captivating and educational stories and experiences we work along a framework of questions tapping into geographical, ethnographical, cultural, historical and anthropological knowledge of each destination.
Exposure to experience is the base for all learning. Our gatherings are far from classroom style presentation – we focus on an experiential learning approach.

 

Explore to experience
All gatherings start with a specific experience where participants are challenged to enter the unknown. The chefs explore this new environment by foraging, fishing, hunting and harvesting, and engage with local experts who offer their unique insights into local produce and cooking techniques.
Share to reflect
A new encounter requires space and time for reflection. Once participants have learnt from local experts, explored the land, and used their own hands to forage, hunt and fish for produce, they have time to reflect on the possibilities and challenges that the new environment presents, and experiment as they begin to compose their culinary works of art. Theoretical input from interdisciplinary experts who can enrich our gatherings with their knowledge helps to nurture reflection.
Curate to create
At the end of our gathering the Chefs present a new dish, a course or a cooking style which represents their interpretation of the sensory experience that inspired it.
 

Innovate to invigorate
A follow-up with Chefs after six months will reveal the impact the experience has had on the day to day work of the chefs. We want to establish where and how change-making is happening. Each Chef will be asked what impact the experience had on the way they cook, the way they source their food, the way they engage with the community, the way they market their product, the way they manage their resources etc.

Conceptualise to assimilate
This is the time for processing the information and exploring the environment to conceptualise and interpret from what has been experienced. Based on the experience, reflection, sharing of experience and knowledge gained from expert input, inspirations will flourish and new ideas around food and cooking can be created. This work can be done in small groups. Time to research, to converse, to gather ideas, to deepen knowledge, to trial and to fail.
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