Pollen is a simple, natural ingredient with a lot of potential… And the perfect metaphor for the launch of the Mediterranean Culinary Academy last year.
When developing our initial idea for our first pop-up dining experience, we wanted to represent the values of The Mediterranean Culinary Academy (MCA) in a tangible manner: Sustainability, through the sourcing of local, seasonal and environmentally-conscious produce; Professionalism in the organisation and overall experience that was delivered; and Education, by explaining each course and dish, its sourcing and how it was prepared.
We wanted to achieve this not only through the food itself, however, but also through the whole experience.
Following our ethos to be a product-driven academy, the menu reflected this by placing the producers and their products at the centre of the menu, which Stephen La Rosa, our wonderful chef, developed following a number of visits to local farmers and suppliers to discover what was in season.
Taking place during the spring, the menu reflected the seasonality of the produce; so much so that some elements depended entirely on what the farmers brought us on the day. The food itself, meanwhile, was traditional and familiar but was also presented in a refined and contemporary manner. Of course, all that food needed something to be washed down with, and we paired the dishes with drinks thanks to the help of local suppliers Stretta Craft Beer and San Niklaw Estate.
The first night of our event was a celebration of the producers who had made our dream possible. So, through the use of a long, single table, we created an environment where producers, professionals and educators in the culinary industry could sit down, discuss their produce, and taste their work in the way we had interpreted it on the plate.
This, in many ways, was a family meal, as that long table was populated by people who had, in one way or another, helped in the creation of the MCA… The conversation was electrifying for us: agricultural lecturers discussed crop rotation with young farmers; a young architect told the story of how he had left his profession to pursue his passion in mead and honey – and how it had ended up being the focus of our first event…
It felt like the beginning of something incredibly beautiful; and something we had to share beyond the boundaries of our network. So much so, that the subsequent three days of the event were open to the public. During this time, we had the chance to present the MCA and its ethos in a seven-course meal prepared by our chefs, and the drinks that had been paired with each to numerous patrons!
Sold out completely, it was more than we could have hoped for. But we couldn’t have achieved this level of success without our partners, Delicia Catering. In fact, we can’t thank them enough for setting up the location and for the professional service for the event. You guys were awesome!
So, with all that in mind, here’s to our next event coming up soon!