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Grana Padano




The 15th edition of Cibus, the international exhibition dedicate to food, will be held in Parma from May 10 to 13. This year, organizers expect more than 1.000 buyers from 55 countries, looking for the best food specialities and almost 900 journalists on the trail of the latest innovations, the most traditional, the most creative and above all, the best products. The successful Cibus formula gives space for professionals, concentrating in a few days the attention of the market’s protagonists.
Within the Cibus exhibition will be “Dolce Italia”, a space dedicated to the great confectionery products.
Parma market itself as the very centre of Europe’s food valley, near the research pole for Italian food, in the city seat of EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). In the last few years the fame of Cibus has been slightly overcast by Tuttofood, a new Italian Food Fair, based in Milan.



Marco Zampieri
Picture by Alexander Lavrin

Marco Zampieri, 44, one of the most talented Italian chefs working abroad, has just passed away. He was the Executive Chef of Cantinetta Antinori in Moscow (Russia), a restaurant opened by the famous Italian wine producing family. Marco died from cancer after a long fight against his disease. His premature death left the international community of Italian chefs and culinary in shock. Many messages of condolence were sent by the members of the itchefs-gvci network, from all over the world. Some of them were sent by former work colleagues of his.

Marco Zampieri
Alexander Lavrin

“In Moscow Marco was considered an icon of Italian Cuisine”, said Pietro Rongoni, chef Patron at La Serenata Restaurant in the Russian capital, who was among the first to meet with Marco, in 2004, when he went to work for Antinori.

“Not only Moscow lost one of its best chefs, but we lost a very good friend”, said Alexander Lavrin, one of the most respected Russian food writers.  “He was such a good man”, adds Anastasia Borisenkova, a food writer belonging to Argo (Association of Russian Gastronomy Observers). “We shared many meals together, I am very sad”, remembers  Rongoni, senior member of itchefs-GVCI. Born in the Piemonte Region, in Crusinallo, Marco received the Italian knighthood for culinary merits just last year. He had worked with some very talented Italian chefs as Claudio Zarenti and Paolo Viviani (Hotel san Rocco – Orta). Ciao Marco, we will miss you, may you rest in peace.

Marco Zampieri
A view of the Cantinetta Antinori in Moscow

Marco Sacco and Andrea Tranchero: From a Small Lake to a Yellow River



Marco Sacco, chef patron of the two-Michelin-star Restaurant Piccolo Lago (Verbania, Italy), has just announced his newest venture. He's about to open The River Club Restaurant in Beijing (China) together with brother Carlo and his family, in partnership with Eric Wang: respected local businessman. Marco has chosen as Corporate Chef a very gifted chef and senior member of itchefs-gvci: Andrea Tranchero, former Executive Chef at Ristorante Armani in Tokyo, Japan. Sacco was Guest Master Chef at the latest edition of the Italian Cuisine Asia Summit in Hong Kong (that Tranchero attended as well) and at the celebration of the International Day of Italian Cuisines in Stuttgart, both events promoted by itchefs-gvci.



Dishes from The River Club Menu Zero
Dishes from The River Club Menu Zero

Piccolo Lago Progetti, the company that will manage the new restaurant in Beijing, was launched at Sacco's restaurant in Verbania (Italy) with the presence of media representatives and authorities among which was Mr. Zhang Li Min, General Consul of China in Italy. For the occasion Andrea Tranchero prepared the River Club Menu Zero, a tasting of the dishes that will be served at the new restaurant located in China's capital city along the Yellow River. Sacco and Tranchero aim at creating a cuisine that will have a clear Italian traditional basis with an innovative twist, that is, open to the ingredients they may find in China as well as to some of the culinary traditions of that great country.


Marco Sacco and Andrea Tranchero
Left: Mr. Zhang Li Min (in the middle), General Consul of China in Italy
Right: Carlo Sacco and Eric Wang toast to The River Club

Photos by Claudio Sacco


Drain of Culinary Talents? Why a Gifted Chef wants to leave Italy

Nicola Cavallaro

Nicola Cavallaro is chef patron of the San Cristoforo Restaurant in Milan. He is widely recognised as one of the most talented in town. His neat, contemporary Italian cuisine, with some exotic twists, is strongly based on the quality of regional ingredients. Despite the many accolades he has collected (many believe he is close to get a Michelin star), Nicola, a GVCI Forum member, is seriously considering leaving Italy, to go to work as a chef abroad. The critical economic situation in Italy has made life even harder for fine cuisine restaurants such as the San Cristoforo. Nicola, who has worked abroad for almost ten years, including in New York, London and Hong Kong, has talked with itchefs-gvci.com about his decision in the following interview.

Why do you want to leave Italy?
When you do a cuisine of high level, the kind which I do, the required investments are considerable. To maintain a restaurant with significant ongoing costs, without financial backup, is quite difficult, if not impossible. It’s very difficult to work without an adequate economic reward.  Abroad instead – while only in rare occasions in Italy – there are serious and proper food businesses that invest in restaurants and chefs. Not to mention hotel chains that transform their restaurants into flagships of their companies.

Nicola Cavallaro

Where would you like to go?
I’d like to go to Oceania or to South East Asia. The reason? I have already had the opportunity of working over there, even though only for short periods. I find those areas very interesting in terms of business and quality of life.

As chef or restaurateur?
I have already had some appealing proposals for a partnership in Australia and New Zealand, though nothing concrete.

What kind of cuisine would you do abroad?
I’d like to hold the name of our traditional cuisine high, however, open to some contamination, taking advantage of the local ingredients. I personally believe that the cuisine I am doing in Milan can be exported everywhere.

Would you work in a restaurant that offers straight traditional Italian cuisine no fussiness no experimentations?
Like it or not, cuisine progresses with the times in which it lives. Technology helps us, experimentation as well. I don’t discard any option a priori.

Nicola Cavallaro

In your opinion, how much should an Italian Chef abroad earn?
I think his earnings should be proportional to his culinary and management skills. He must be a good PR manager of himself as well.

In Italy, a quality restaurant is often equal to small size, few seats. Abroad it’s another story. Are you prepared?
I’ve worked in a situation in which in a couple of hours we used to serve 800 omelettes Benedictine, scrambled eggs etc. When I was in New York, as a sous chef responsible for the lunch, we used to serve 200 customers without a problem. Of course the numbers must duly match the numbers of employees the restaurant has at disposal.

Nicola Cavallaro

In Italy the number of kitchens run by non-Italian-born chefs is increasing. Where will Italians and gourmet travellers coming to Italy eat the dishes of tradition in the future?
The work of a chef is a tough one. Today many people after only a few years of cooking school or training consider themselves finished chefs. The foreign cooks who work for me here in Milan prepare dishes of the same level as mine. The secret is in the correct training. Of course, foreign chefs cannot understand completely the reasons behind some of the dishes of our tradition, but they can replicate them in a very adequate way.

Do you fear being left without the right ingredients if you go abroad?
I believe that it’s absolutely no difficulty to find the right ingredients everywhere with the exception of a few countries with special duties and regulations. There are also places in the world where it’s very easy to find as good ingredients as those available in Italy.


Traveling Italian Talent: Igor Macchia in Asia


Igor Macchia

Another talented Italian chef, Igor Macchia of La Credenza Restaurant, San Maurizio Canavese, Piedmont, is about to go abroad, but for a limited period of time. He will travel for more than one month through Asia, leaving the helm of the kitchen of his one-Michelin-starred restaurant totally in the hands of his partner Giovanni Grasso. Macchia, a long term GVCI associate, will cook in some prestigious restaurants in Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei and Huangzhou. In Hong Kong he will cook at the Mistral, where the chef in charge is Claudio Dieli, another GVCI associate.

Igor Macchia

Igor, well-known for his eclectic, contemporary Italian cuisine, based on ingredients of exceptional quality, is among the most promising young chefs of the Piedmont Region. During his Asian tour he will be Guest master chef at the Galaxy Hotel in Macao (April 27-28), at the Marco Polo Restaurant in Taipei (April 30- May 5) and at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Huangzhou, China.  Igor is not new to these lengthy tours in Asia, which he uses to promote his cuisine and quality Italian ingredients, as well as authentic educational trips, to increase his culinary knowledge and to broaden his mind.

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