Food, health and culinary innovation in Barcelona
Food, health and culinary innovation. They are the three axes on which the Torribera Mediterranian Center wants to take its first steps that have jointly promoted The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and the University of Barcelona. This is a project that, for the moment, starts with an office on the top floor of La Masia, one of the buildings of the Campus de l’Alimentació de Torribera, in Santa Coloma de Gramanet, and with the announcement of a conference they will celebrate in Barcelona on October 15 and 16 in the historic building of the Central University under the statement Tomorrow Tastes Mediterranean, very similar to those successfully organized by the American private teaching institution at its headquarters in New York and Napa Valley.
The next step is expected to be the beginning of the first master focused on the Mediterranean diet (Mediterranean Diet: food, culture and culinary innovation) that will be taught from January to July, if the second attempt is successful, since last year it was not delivered due to lack of students (costs about 7,000 euros) and, as explained by the promoters, because they barely gave out to this educational program that was born as a master’s degree at the UB and aspires to become an officer. A master directed by the renowned doctors Màrius Rubiralta (Faculty of Farm and Science of Food), Ramon Estruch (Faculty of Medicine and Sciences of Health of the UB) and Michael B. Spearling (Culinary Institute of America).
Santi Mas de Xaxas, representative of The Culinary Institute in Spain, explains that they want to combine training and knowledge transfer in a practical way, reaching a student body from very varied professional fields, from the Horeca channel to health, agri-food , gastronomy, food industry, or collective cooking. They have the endorsement of renowned scientists and great chefs in their advisory councils and with the involvement of professionals who know well the relationship between cuisine and industry such as chef Isma Prados, who teaches the subject of Design and innovation of the product in Torribera and who will be the person responsible for the contents in the kitchen.
This chef sees the Torribera Mediterranian Center as “a very interesting opportunity to value a label, the Mediterranean diet, which seemed somewhat obsolete compared to others such as veganism.” Prados points out the importance of being governed by the criteria of that diet that is not only limited to the Mediterranean shores but also extends to the entire Parallel 40, which covers territories where there is a great diversity of fresh produce throughout the year ”
The leaders of the CIA have found in the virtues of a diet that has been proven scientifically healthy and that is a world heritage site, the perfect argument to expand its presence away from the United States. And it is that The Culinary Institut of America already has one foot in Asia, where it has a spectacular center in Singapore, but it still did not have it in Europe, where they finally arrive at the Campus d ‘Alimentació Torribera in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, with the complicity of the UB.
Why here and not in Italy or Greece, also candidates? Their fascination with the transcendent Predimed study, published in 2013, which showed that the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest in the world, led them to be interested in its coordinator, Dr. Ramon Estruch, of the Hospital Clínic. The complicity with him and the one they also found in who in his day was rector of the University of Barcelona, Màrius Rubiralta, has taken the project to Santa Coloma.
According to Dr. Ramon Estruch, one of the challenges of the Torribera Mediterranian Center is to obtain European aid to apply the scientific method in feeding techniques. “It’s about combining nutrition, health and gastronomy to demonstrate the influence of different culinary techniques on health.”
Among the plans of this project that has the support of Acció, is the development of studies on food and field research within the Mediterranean area, identifying good practices and promoting innovation especially around food of plant origin of the Mediterranean diet that are disappearing.
Dr. Estruch, who heads the scientific and technical committee and promoted a successful master’s degree at the Hospital Clínic on food, health and lifestyle, recognizes that from Medicine requires a greater awareness of the power of food in the health, something that he himself has been able to verify. “In the United States there are many doctors sensitive to food, but here we have a very pharmacological culture and we forget the importance, for example, of the different cooking methods in health or the richness of something apparently as simple as a stir-fry.”
It is our great landing in Europe,” says Anne McBride, from the CIA. “We don’t want to be a Basque Culinary Center, nor a CET, nor do anything that others are already doing. We are not going to teach people how to eat and we want to go more to the industry and collective sectors. ” The Clinic and the Faculty of Farm and Science of Food will play an important role in the field of research. But synergies will also be sought, adds Dr. Estruch, with centers already working in the way of improving eating and healthy habits, such as the Alícia Foundation. “Because if I have learned something over the years, it is that to do something great you have to add the efforts of many.”