There is always a good reason to enjoy Bogotá, whether to explore the art scene with ArtBo, the audiovisual industry with BAM, the music cluster with BOmm or the fashion world with BFW, events hosted by the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce (BCC) to support and promote business clusters in the city and surrounding region.

Now, there is yet another great excuse to make the most of the Colombian capital with the launching this November of the first edition of Bogotá Madrid Fusión, BMF, a gastronomic congress and showcase that promises to become a reference for all other events of its kind in the Americas.

BMF takes place November 7 to 10 at the exhibition grounds of Corferias. Different venues and platforms are geared to trade professionals, connoisseurs, students and neophytes alike. From networking sessions, business exchanges and a congress to workshops, master classes, tastings and a commercial expo, the event is expecting 10,000 visitors to kick off.

Bogotá Madrid Fusión is organized by the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce in alliance with the Spanish media group Vocento, owners of the Madrid Fusión brand and leading media outlets. The Colombian edition brings together some of the most important names in gastronomy, including Spanish chef Joan Roca of the celebrated restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, ranked among the best in the world.

Industry professionals can attend the first Haute Cuisine Congress, and learn first hand techniques from Roca himself and other culinary personalities, including the two Michelin star Yashihiro Narisawa of his Tokyo-based restaurant; Peruvian Vigilio Martínez of Lima’s legendary Central, number six on the World’s 50 Best list; and, Mexican Enrique Olivera of another two Michelin star restaurant: Pujal.

Colombians Harry Sasson of his namesake and Álvaro Clavijo of El Chato will also share the spotlight along with 20 celebrity chefs. Seating is limited, and pre-registration is a must at www.bogotamadridfusion.co.

The general public can participate in 18 master classes during the weekend given by experts such as Quique Dacosta of Quique Dacosta restaurant in Alicante, Spain, who will teach How to Master Mediterranean Rice cooking techniques. Chef Chele González of Gallery in Manila, Philippines, will focus on the Gastronomic Connections between his native country and Colombia; and, Koldo Miranda of Cuarto Frío in Bogotá will talk about Travelling Cuisines. Pre-registration is also required.

In addition to lessons and workshops, people can experience wine tastings, and try foods from different regions of Colombia prepared by innovative cooks and up-and-coming chefs. Visitors can purchase kitchen accessories, fresh produce and specialty foods from 100 vendors at the commercial fair, making BMF one of the biggest gastronomic showcases in the country.

Mónica de Greiff, president of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, believes Bogotá Madrid Fusión will strengthen the gastronomic cluster. “We invite you to participate and take advantage of the knowledge the Congress brings, which will be the most important in America,” she said. The sector with 112,000 registered companies, including restaurants, bars and catering services generated some COP 5.3 billion in sales in 2018.

Colombia’s rich biodiversity and creativity, as well as its stability and central geographic location were some of the reasons Grupo Vocento partnered with the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce to launch BMF.

Benjamín Lana, president of the Gastronomy Division of Grupo Vocento, believes Colombia has a greater chance in exerting a strong food industry than any other country in Latin America. For him, events like BMF make knowledge accessible to everyone, which strengthens the sector by invigorating a new generation of chefs and cooks, as it has done for Madrid.

“As far as food goes, one can travel around the world without leaving Colombia, and many Colombians are unaware of their country’s gastronomic legacy,” he said. He is convinced that Colombia’s cuisine will be more visible abroad and locally as a direct result of Bogotá Madrid Fusión.

Referring to the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, Lana believes, “business is only possible when partners are serious, and committed long-term to transforming the gastronomic sector.”

María Paz Gaviria, commercial and cultural platforms manager of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, coincides with Lana from the other side of the spectrum, which makes Bogotá Madrid Fusión a perfect match. “Bogotá needed an event with international reach to boost the sector and create the platform this country deserves,” she said.

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