:: itchefs-GVCI ::

Grana Padano

WITHOUT HIM EVEN ITCHEFS-GVCI WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN

I have done a lot of writing in my life, but these are probably the most difficult lines I have ever had to write. Stefano Bonilli, Founder and Director of Gambero Rosso (the original) has passed away. I am saddened to the point of speechlessness-- angry even, for his sudden death. In recent years we have had our disagreements (nothing serious). Last week I, even promised myself to go and see him. I should have done that sooner. I feel like I have lost a member of my immediate family. No matter where I went in the world in the years that I worked with him: Eritrea, South Africa, Japan, Turkey, Russia -- everywhere I went he was a point of reference. His Gambero Rosso was not just a magazine, it was the lens through which Italians (and also foreigners) saw the world of food and wine in a new and unprecedented way. I do not want to bore you with my sadness. Rather, I think it is best to remember a person like him through what left us. In 1998 or 99, he said to me: “Go to Sydney. There is a cook there who writes to me. Go meet him and let’s do something together.” That person was Mario Caramella. We met, and a few months later GVCI was born along with the history of all of these years. The first to write about the forum was the Gambero Rosso. The director, or “SBO” as he signed his name, was a member of our forum from the beginning, I believe. He rarely posted, and when he did it was often to let us (me) have it, but that was just how he was. He was stimulating even when he was irritating or indolent. Bonilli changed the world of Italian food and wine. He was a real master, sometimes even without knowing it. And yes, it’s true. Without him, the GVCI probably never would have existed. Thank you, Director. Rosario Scarpato.