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Grana Padano


ItChefs-GVCI associate Donato De Santis participated in MASTICAR Fair in Buenos Aires

An initiative of A.C.E.L.G.A., an asociation of cooks, producers and restaurateurs, MASTICAR Fair (“to chew" in Spanish) was a fantastic display of products, dishes and all things gastronomical. Donato De Santis who is a household name in Argentina was also a part of this unique event. He taught a class on Pasta making together with veteran of Italian cuisine in Argentina Chef Pedro Piccau and in his Cucina Paradiso stand offered to the public dishes of Pasta and Dolci.


The Italian Street Food SURVIVAL KIT

How many street foods does Italy have? Hundreds, thousands perhaps. So, if one day you are left alone in an ideal Italian street, which ones should you eat to get the real essence of the Italian culinary traditions?

For the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival visitors we have selected possibly the most popular ones. The porchetta (roasted stuffed pig), the fritto misto (fried fish and seafood), the arancini, stuffed fried rice balls and a salad of the most popular winter fruits and vegetables: orange and fennel, dressed with the symbol of both the Italian and the Mediterranean diets: extra-virgin olive oil. Taste them and you will know how so many Italians have survived throughout history, with simple, healthy yet delicious food. These dishes, however, hold the essence of contemporary Italy as well: renowned Michelin Stared chefs: Marco Sacco, Mariangela Susigan, Tano Simonato and Sergio Vineis, have revisited these traditional street foods adding to each one a little touch of creativity.

The presentation at GAIA restaurant

The Survival kit was presented last night at Gaia Restaurant with the presence of Rosario Scarpato (Italian Cuisine and Wines World Summit Director), Paolo Monti (Gaia Restaurant Executive Chef and Summit's Culinary Supervisor), Aira Piva (Summit's Executive Chef), Giorgio Giambelli, Andrea Magnano and Alessandro Angelini.


The GVCI Won the Prestigious “Orio Vergani” Award

“With great pleasure and honor we accept this prestigious Award, which represents without any doubt, the outcome of the effort of the many professionals belonging to GVCI”, said Mario Caramella, accepting the Award on behalf of the network. The ceremony of the presentation of the Award was held in Milan only a few days ago.

The Board of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina granted the prestigious Orio Vergani 2012 Award to the GVCI (Virtual Group of Italian Chefs).

Prof. Giovanni Ballerini, Accademia Italiana della Cucina President, had officially communicated the good news last June to Mario Caramella, GVCI President and Chef-Patron of inITALY Restaurant in Singapore.

The Orio Vergani Awards have been created to honor the memory of the founder of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina and is granted every year to individuals, institutions and associations, without ties to the Accademia, that have greatly honored both the Italian gastronomy culture and civilization of the table in every field, in Italy and abroad.

Mario Caramella receiving the award from President of the Accademia Prof. Giovanni Ballarini

Download your printable version of the Award (16 mb)


Alitalia: a missed opportunity to educate worldwide consumers on Italian Cuisine - Chef Sauro Scarabotta writes to its CEO

Italy´s national airline is, for many foreign travelers going there, their first gate to Italian cuisine and wine. Too often, however, the level of Alitalia´s onboard meals is appalling, in all classes and especially on the intercontinental routes. To such extent, that Chef Sauro Scarabotta (FRICCO, SAO PAULO), an itchefs-GVCI associate, has written twice to Alitalia´s CEO complaining about the terrible experiences he´s had (see the letter below). But why hasn´t this changed? Isn't there a way to improve the situation?

The reshaping of the company that took place a couple of years ago, ignited the hope of a change which never happened. The airline still publicizes to have an important Italian Cooking School as a consultant for its menus but for sure no one from that School checks the quality of the food served aboard.

It is true that the company must save on everything in order to survive but with some creativity, some solutions could be found for sure. In the end, Alitalia should not escape its responsibilities: representing a country that is a gastronomical superpower.

* * *

Dear Mr. Sabelli,

My name is Sauro Scarabotta, I am Italian, 46 years old and I have been living in Sao Paulo, Brazil, since 1994. I often travel for both work and vacations, and until a few years ago I traveled with ALITALIA because of my spirit of nationalism and because I felt well treated. Last year, I took a couple of flights with ALITALIA, because of decisions ‘forced’ by other factors and, I have to tell you, those flights made me feel ashamed of being an Italian.

I took the flight Sao Paulo – Rome, 29th Oct and returned Rome – Sao Paulo, 10th Nov. I have since made two written complaints about the terrible quality of the food, it was uneatable!!!

Until now no one has answered me and now, I do not believe that any one will. I wish to let you know that my final destination was Hong Kong and that I flew the stretch Rome – Hong Kong with CATHAY PACIFIC, and the difference was enormous, everything was better, the cleanliness of the ‘plane, the general condition of the toilets, the quality of the materials, the table-ware and the kinds of paper (serviettes, toilet paper, etc.) from the type of seat to the distance between the rows; let me tell you that I searched for anything inferior or more or less equal to that of ALITALIA, but I did not find it!!!

I have always travelled with you in BUSINESS or as you call it ‘MAGNIFICA’, but I would call it barely ‘SUFFICIENTE’.

Let us talk about the dining services on board: the original and well laid out menu and wine card provoked high expectations by means of the language used as well as the description of the cultural and regional aspects. The text describing Friuli Venezia Giulia is almost poetic. But then comes the service, which maintains its high level of professionalism, courtesy and devotion of the staff, however, as the dishes arrive, step by step, the sparkle fails and things hit bottom with a bread of the worst of quality. But let us take things in order, starting with the antipasto: we were served a towelette, of Japanese restaurant sort, dry and with bad odour! The antipasto, consisting of four samplings, presented the dinners with; 1- a badly cut slice of Italian prosciutto DOP, of which I have serious doubts about its being Italian at all and I would be willing to bet any amount that it was not DOP because of its very low quality and its total lack of fat, 2- marinated vegetables (according to the menu) – celery, carrots and tomatoes raw and unseasoned. Let me tell anyone who may not know that marinade is a liquid formed on the base of herbs and acids or oil which ‘cooks’ meats, fish or vegetables when immersed in it, 3- ricotta quenelle with rosé gelatine which were flat (quenelle is a creamy pasta which allows the formation of an oval by being passed from one spoon to another repeatedly) and were of smoked ricotta, 4- grilled yellow polenta with Montasio DOP cheese. Well, there was plenty of polenta, but it had never seen the grill; and the Montasio, a cooked cheese, therefore yellow, was not Montasio in as far as it was creamy and white. And the pasta with San Marzano DOP tomatoes and basil gets a particularly low mark. This really bleak level was maintained by the rest of the courses on the menu and worsened by the freezing plates which chilled everything that should have been served hot – the only thing that the staff aboard could have improved. The only product truly worthy of the circumstances was the AZ olive oil, which was zealously hidden and taken to the passengers only upon request.

The positive points: well then, the timing of the service, the quality of the cutlery and of the glasses, the service of the wines and their temperature both red and white.

Mr. Sabelli, please, let us not use such fancy-sounding names as DOP, Quenelle, Montasio, Carnaroli, San Marzano and San Daniele for the purpose of marketing, because when we do, make a terrible presentation to those who already know these products, and because those who are trying this mediocrity for the first time, will certainly not buy it again because they did not like it – thus doubling the damage!!!

I am sure that the inspectors of ALMA will terminate their contract with you, because the entire page of your menu is dedicated to concepts that are light-years from the reality to be found on your plates.

I very much hope that Mr. Marchesi becomes aware of things before the damage becomes irresolvable.

If it is to our benefit that tourists come to Italy – and many come specifically for our food and wine – if they judge things by what they are served on ALITALIA have no doubt, they will be few a far between.

I do not know if I will receive an answer or if you will have the patience to read to this point, however, I attach my boarding pass as a proof of what I have just written.

Awaiting a simple answer, I thank you,
Sauro Scarabotta


A Preview of the upcoming 4th Italian Cuisine and Wines World Summit in Hong Kong

An impressive showcase of talents, flavors and products, is scheduled for November 1st through 10th, for the 4th Italian Cuisine and Wine World Summit. More than 20 top Italian master chefs from Italy and from some major Asian cities, many of them Michelin-starred, will be hosted by the best Italian restaurants in town. They will prepare special lunches and dinners, run master cooking classes and host product tastings.

Italian cuisine has become the most beloved cuisine in Asia only after the local ones, and Hong Kong the gateway for quality foodstuffs and wines coming from Italy. A proof of this is that the Summit continues to grow with each edition. This year, the Summit will have its Headquarters at the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival (1-4 November 2012). Last year, this fair had 1000 exhibitors and more than 21.000 trade visitors; the Wine and Dine Festival, on the other hand, could boast more than 170.000.

At the festival we will feature typical Italian products and fine Italian wines, the educational cooking stage for demonstrations and workshops of Italian cooking for the Pavilion’s visitors with Michelin starred Master Guest Chefs’ demonstrations; live making of Italian ingredients such as fresh pasta, mozzarella and burrata cheese, and, naturally, gelato; the Exhibition of Italian Team Pizza Acrobatics; the Food and Fashion runway; the new entry products area which will certainly dazzle the Hong Kong public; the White Truffle VIP Club Restaurant, an exclusive area – for invited guests only – where B2B meetings will be held; the Street Food area that will be dedicated to the preparation and exhibition of certain Italian foods that are eaten not only at the table.

The Summit will also be a part of the Wine and Spirits Fair and host events such as the Risotto World Summit and The Italian Wine List Awards for Asian Restaurants.

The summit is organized by itchefs-gvci.com. GVCI (Virtual Group of Italian Chefs) is the most vital of all the associations of chefs and culinary professionals (more than 1800 in 70 countries) working for Italian cuisine and wine abroad.

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