Notes from the Big Peach

by Chris Ying

It feels well past time for someone from Lucky Peach to contribute something to the MAD blog, lest everyone think we’re just absentee guest curators of this year’s symposium. Rest assured, we’re scattered around the world—in San Francisco and New York and whatever corner of the globe Dave Chang is in right now—thinking and plotting and conversing with the crew in Copenhagen about this year’s event.

You’re probably asking, What the hell are the delinquents from Lucky Peach going to bring to MAD anyway? It’s a fair question, and one we’ve (repeatedly) asked ourselves. The previous two MADs astonished and inspired us. There’s no culinary event quite like it on Earth—brilliant people speaking to their peers, solely for the sake of sharing ideas. No tastings or book signings or collaborative dinners—just thoughts about where food is and where it’s going. So what can Lucky Peach add?

If I’m proudest of one thing about our publication, it’s the diversity of voices we’ve been able to bring into our fold. From the beginning, Dave and Peter Meehan and the rest of the Lucky Peach staff have sought out not only food writers, but also novelists, poets, painters, illustrators, musicians, and anybody else willing to contribute to our little rag. Likewise, if MAD is about educating one another, then we should strive for the broadest education possible. Let’s take gym and music and Latin and postmodern women’s studies classes this year. In other words, we’re going to hear from people outside of the kitchen, people whose experiences  can provoke better work in our own fields.

Lastly, this year’s theme is guts. We’re challenging ourselves and the MAD team to take that to heart. We can’t ask our speakers to show up and be gutsy, if we’re not gutsy ourselves. If we don’t wimp out before August, expect us to say things we shouldn’t, experiment with new formats, fail spectacularly, and succeed sporadically.

—Chris Ying, editor-in-chief, Lucky Peach