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The 2012 MAD Food Camp (PHOTOS)

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For two days, many of the world's most famous chefs gathered in Copenhagen for the second edition of the MAD Symposium. Honest Cooking was there.

In 2011, hundreds of chefs, restaurateurs, scientists and food writers gathered at the Refshaleøen in central Copenhagen for two days of talks on the "Planting Thoughts" theme. The MAD 2011 edition was a smashing success, and with a star-studded schedule for the two days, naturally expectations were very high among the 3-400 people attending MAD2.

Among the speakers this year, were Dan Barber, Wylie Dufresne, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Fergus Henderson, Massimo Bottura and many more. The biggest fish, however, was Ferran Adria, who made a rare post-El Bulli-appearance in Copenhagen.

The setting for the 2012 MAD Symposium was similar to the 2011 version. We're talking circus tent, very casual ambience and a rock festival kind of feeling to the whole thing. At any given time, you'd find yourself surrounded by Michelin stars and Top 50 chefs from across the globe -- casually wandering the premises, chatting, networking and just hanging out with likeminded people.

10 minutes before take off -- Ali Kurshat Altinsoy (Director of MAD) René Redzepi (Noma owner and founder) and Matthew Orlando (Noma Head Chef) looked happy, and if I'm not completely mistaken -- a little nervous.

David Chang, appearing for the second time at MAD, talked about MSG and natural flavoring.

Scotsman Roderick Sloan talked about his life as a sea urchin fisherman North of the Arctic Circle, and made all men in the tent feel significantly less manly.

Two Michelin starred chef Björn Frantzén being interviewed.

Isn't that? Yes it is.

Kamal Mouzawak checking the weather back home in Lebanon. I'm guessing it was "better."

To many chefs, MAD is almost as much a place to meet old friends and catch up as to listen to the speakers. Here, a tender moment between Mads Refslund and Niklas Ekstedt.

If you think it looks a little bit like a rock festival, it's because it was a little bit like a rock festival. Just with more Michelin starred chefs.

Delicious smørrebrød lunch served by the talented "smørrebrød-re-inventor" Adam Aamann -- who is just about to open his first restaurant in NYC.

The most moving speech of the two days -- Chido Govera talked about her incredible struggle. From being an orphan at a very early age to teaching kids in Africa and the rest of the world to grow mushrooms for income and food, Chido put things in perspective for all attendants.

One of the slides from Chido's amazing speech.

The lovely Paul Cunningham was happy as always. And why shouldn't he be? His Henne Kirkeby Kro restaurant is getting rave reviews these days.

Always the nice guy, René Redzepi handed out ice cream.

Matthew Orlando from Noma and Wylie Dufresne from WD50 exchanging courtesies.

Rasmus Kofoed -- Bocuse D'Or winner -- talked about... being the Bocuse D'Or Winner. Then he showed a video about... being the Bocuse D'Or winner. And to really make it clear who he is, he brought his three cups (placed front table), showing that he is in fact... The Bocuse D'Or winner.

Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver of St John's are heroes to most modern chefs.

Christian Puglisi of Relæ was happy the first day. Second day, not so much (Christian is half Italian, and a soccer fan).

Why so sad Ferran? You won!

Food critics Mattias Kroon and Lars Peder Hedberg in deep discussion. Probably about food. Or wine. Or both.

The coolest guys at MAD? Mission Street Chinese were a class act. An inspiring story, humble approach -- perfectly accessorized with a highly developed fashion sense.

Professor Paul Rozin talked about flavor memories and how restaurants might want to look to music when they construct their menus in the future. Very interesting, and the kind of professor you always wished you had in school.

In one of the few actual cooking demos of the weekend, Enrique Olvera of Pujol in Mexico City talked about his quest to rediscover and redefine Mexican gastronomy using ancient techniques and produce.

Gastronomy branding expert Kristian Brask Thomsen and Noma Managing Director Peter Kreiner seemed to enjoy both the show and the slightly unstable Danish summer weather.

Mads Refslund -- ACME Head Chef -- enjoying lunch in the high grass. He might have done some foraging there as well.

Ferran Adria closed the show with his speech about creativity and modern cuisine. And grapes.

Closing time. Cheers and standing ovation.

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