For years distillers and bartenders have struggled to express how their world of liquid and drinks fits in with the larger, more celebrated domain of food. They know it's there, through techniques and flavour, but a roasted chicken and a smoky whisky are two very different experiences.
In an insightful, beautiful and thought-provoking new series, Islay whisky Laphroaig has found the language to talk about the intersection of food and drink; through the elements used to transform them. For robust Laphroaig those are fire, peat and salt.
Taste Trailblazers is a celebration of those key elements and how they play a role in turning barley into whisky and raw ingredients into a feast, and of how a distiller and a chef can use them to manipulate flavour to create something slightly magical.
Chef Francis Mallmann and Laphroaig Distillery Manager, Barry MacAffer
Over the course of 2023, Laphroaig will be showcasing culinary innovators from around the globe who utilise fire, peat and salt to evolve the food we consume, and how what they do relates directly back to making whisky. The first trailblazer is Chef Francis Mallmann, otherwise known as the 'fire chef', and above you'll watch him explore Laphroaig's distillery, from the peat fields to the malting floor, drawing inspiration from the peat, the fire, and the salt that surrounds them.
"I remember all the hands I've seen, the ones in the oven, the ones upstairs where the barley is and in the peat, all the tools and knowledge," he says of his experience on Islay.