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MAD Symposium

The MAD Symposium is an annual symposium held in Copenhagen, Denmark consisting of presentations from chefs, farmers, academics, thinkers, and artists. The event is hosted by MAD Food Organization, which was founded in 2011 by Danish chef Rene Redzepi, of the acclaimed Copenhagen restaurant Noma. The two-day symposium takes place inside a circus tent on the grounds of Refshaleoen, along the city's waterfront. The audience for MAD consists predominantly of chefs, aspiring cooks, farmers, journalists, and other foodservice professionals. The event has been described as "a mashup of TED, Burning Man, and SXSW" and "The Food World's G-20".

MAD's mission statement is "to expand knowledge of food to make every meal a better meal; not just at restaurants, but every meal cooked and served. Good cooking and a healthy environment can and should go hand-in-hand, and the quest for a better meal can leave the world a better place than we found it. MAD is committed to producing and sharing this knowledge and to taking promising ideas from theory to practice." In describing the reasons for MAD's existence, Redzepi has said, "The role of the chef is evolving and developing into a position of influence one that impacts the manner in which people and food professionals consume and connect with food. Such responsibility requires education, an elevation of awareness, and social maturity. MAD recognizes that the modern chef is faced with challenges and responsibilities that go far beyond supplying simple sustenance for the duration of a single meal. Accordingly, the symposium aims to feature speeches from speakers of different disciplines in order to expose numerous perspectives on food and culture. MAD wants those who attend the symposium to return to their kitchens and communities and reflect on what they have seen and heard. There are new questions we now know to ask, so we can become more inquisitive, imaginative, and knowledgable." At the end of the MAD4 Symposium Rene Redzepi stated that MAD's new mission would be to take all the knowledge it had gained, and start to act. Since then it has begun work on several major projects including publishing, event hosting, and collaboration with major organizations like the World Bank.

MAD is a not-for-profit grassroots operation. Since starting out with a single employee using a borrowed desk in a tiny office on the fringes of Copenhagen, MAD has grown to comprise a small, full-time team and collaborators spread throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States. The team is made up of: Melina Shannon-DiPietro (director), Victor Borberg (project coordinator), Bella Napier (program manager), and Mikkel Westergaard (manager of the VILD MAD program).