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Posted by portugalpress on November 09, 2017

Michelin-starred chefs, top quality wines and dazzling entertainment; the second edition of the Culinary Extravaganza was a repeat success

For the second year running, the "Culinary Extravaganza" returned to the Conrad Algarve in Quinta do Lago. Last weekend Chef Heinz Beck (three Michelin stars) hosted what is already considered one of the biggest gastronomic events of the year, bringing together sommeliers, mixologists, international chefs and chefs from the Hilton portfolio, summing up a total of 15 Michelin stars.

Organisers had promised to surpass all expectations, guests were told to “expect the unexpected”, and they kept their word. Over the course of three days, November 4 to 6, some of the world's top chefs came together to create unforgettable menus paired with Minho, Dão and Bairrada wines supplied by Ideal Drinks, with each meal costing between €95 and €245 per person.

During lunch and dinner, an eclectic crowd, including residents, regular hotel guests and guests who traveled from abroad, sampled the sophisticated dishes in an unforgettable atmosphere. The Conrad Algarve’s team raised the bar yet again by including spectacular entertainment, including a brass band, a belly dancer, an acrobat hanging from the lobby’s ceiling and an opera singer.

Together with host chef Heinz Beck, chefs Jacob Jan Boerma (three Michelin stars), Ricardo Costa (two Michelin stars), Maurizio Serva (two Michelin stars), Juan Amador (two Michelin stars), Sidney Schutte (two Michelin stars), Chris Galvin and Joo Won (one star), Osvalde Silva, Christoph Jefferson, Franco Luise, Shota Goderdzishvili and Joe Barza created sumptuous dishes during an amazing show-cooking experience during which they worked together as a monumental team.

The wine harmonisation was done by Miguel Martins, Head of Sommelier at Conrad Algarve, and António Coelho, sommelier of the four-star Michelin restaurant Lasarte in Barcelona, while Nelson de Matos was responsible for the team of guest mixologists.

Five unique events took place over the course of three days of celebrations.

The Grand Opening Event, the "Culinary Heaven" on November 4, was hosted in the hotel’s lobby and prepared in the make-shift kitchen set up in the hotel’s lobby bar; a first for the hotel which is known for its out-of-the-box events. The starters were a selection of exquisite morsels prepared by each one of the chefs featured that night: Heinz Beck, Jacob Jan Boerma, Ricardo Costa and Maurizio Serva, followed by their individual dishes.

On Sunday, a “BBQ Brunch” was held at Dado Q, the hotel’s poolside restaurant, in a very relaxed atmosphere, enhanced by a very talented Jazz band. On the menu was a myriad of grilled meats and a whole Robalo “en papillote” prepared by the Conrad’s in-house chef Osvalde Silva, as well as Italian and middle-eastern delicacies created by chefs Franco Luise and Joe Barza.

In the evening, the “Michelin Dining Experience” was held in the hotel’s Gusto restaurant. Chef Heinz Beck’s delicate duck tortellinis delighted guests, while German chef Juan Amador’s Miéral Pigeon was the highlight of the menu.
On Monday the 6th, the week started with a bang in the Hotel’s Roof Garden Suite. Chefs Osvalde Silva, Franco Luise, Christopher Jefferson and Shota Goderdzishvili served a selection of their specialties on the suite’s terrace to the sound of a brass band and a guitar player.

The “Closing Dinner“, hosted by Heinz Beck, was held that evening at Gusto. A spectacular finale for the chef and his guests (Sidney Schutte, Chris Galvin and Joo Won), who put together a star-studded Michelin menu on which Sidney Schutte's Blue Lobster with lemon geranium, duck tongue, lychee and duck liver shone the brightest.

The luxury resort’s team spared no effort. It took them six months to organise the logistics necessary to accommodate the 15 chefs’ needs. Finding the ingredients is one of the biggest challenges for the organisation, says Katharina Schlaipfer, the resort's general manager.

Dutch chef Jacob-Jan Boerma, for example, demanded that the scallops be alive. “We could not find a supplier, and he refused to use frozen ones. He was the one to come up with a solution. He proposed to bring them in his luggage, but eventually lost the connecting flight in Lisbon. We arranged a transfer for the chef and his scallops came directly from Amsterdam,” she said.

The second edition of the event was an absolute success. “Most of the chefs we have hosted this year really want to come back to the Conrad and the Algarve. Many have already asked me to be invited to participate in the next edition,” says Schlaipfer, who revealed that a third edition of the 'Culinary Extravaganza' is very likely to take place in November 2018.

By ALEXANDRA STILWELL

Photos by: VASCO CÉLIO

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