Chef Paolo Monti protagonist of a popular TV show in China
Paolo Monti, the Gaia Group Executive and senior itchefs-GVCI associate, and his Shanghai brigade were the protagonists of a famous culinary competition broadcasted by Sohu TV station. Together with his colleagues, all itchefs GVCI associates, Corrado Michelazzo, Marco Busatti and Domenico Cicchetti, they faced a lively and competent Chinese team. The competition was tough and in the end they were defeated (the jury was made exclusively of Chinese guests). However, even with the limited and odd ingredients they had available (the show has an intriguing format that sometimes can penalise western chefs), Chef Monti put together an exquisite five course Italian meal realised without salt and sugar, which he couldn’t keep during the race for ingredients at the beginning of the show. “We realised the ultimate in healthy food within Italian”, he joked at the end of the competition and the audience of the TV liked, given the audience rating the program had. The menu was Sea food carpaccio withegg- goat cheese; Pigeon with tagliatelle; Slow braised veal breast with sweet rice wine and pumpkins puree; Strawberry sorbet with apple and pistachio fried ravioli.
SQUISITO! The First Congress of Italian Cuisine in Latin America
An unprecedented first Congress of Italian Cuisine in America Latina has been announced for the second part of next August. It will be called “Squisito!” and it´s promoted by the network itchefs-GVCI and in particular by some of our most distinguished representatives: celebrity TV chef Donato de Santis, in Buenos Aires, Fricco’s chef owner Sauro Scarabotta in Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Roberto Illari, executive chef of Golf 50 in Santiago de Chile. They will have the pleasure of hosting in the three cities some friends and famous colleagues from Italy: Michelin star chefs and famous artisans of typical Italian products that will work together with Italian chefs working in other major Latin-American cities. Dinners, tastings, events, master classes: the aim of Squisito! is to provide only authentic Italian cuisine and quality products together with fashion, design and the typical Italian gioia de vivere. The event will take place in Buenos Aires, it will be launched in Sao Paulo (Brazil) and there will be a post Congress in Santiago de Chile. More news in the next few days. Stay tuned!
Otto e Mezzo Bombana, 39th World´s Best Restaurant
Otto e Mezzo Bombana Hong Kong has been called "A taste of Italian showmanship and superbly executed cuisine" and for this and much more it has been awarded one of San Pellegrino´s World´s Best 50 Restaurants. Otto e Mezzo is the 39th best restaurant and as a part of the world of Italian Cuisine we are proud of such an accomplishment considering Bombana is always true to Italian tradition, with utter refinement, yes, but never loosing touch with what makes Italian cuisine great.
The Next Front in the Food Movement According to Marcella Hazan
One of the most well known Italian cookbook authors Marcella Hazan recently celebrated her 90 birthdays. Born in Cesenatico, Marcella is the author of one of the most successful books on Italian Cuisine of all times: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Marcella is famed for her aversion to microwave and convenience foods. So she was particularly delighted by receiving as a gift Cooked, the last book by Michael Pollan. “Welcome aboard, Michael – wrote Marcella on her blog – I have been driving that wagon for forty years”. She commented in this way the pledge of Cooked, that “we should use more salt in the kitchen, not less, that microwave and convenience foods don’t actually save time and that the next front in the food movement should be your kitchen”.
Matteo Scibilia, First Italian Chef Awarded for Cultural Cause
Matteo Scibilia, chef owner of the restaurant Osteria della Buona Condotta, in Ornago (Milano) was rewarded with the Italian Silver Medal for Cultural Merits. It’s the first time that a Chef receives this award traditionally reserved to artists, scientists, writers and filmmakers. Matteo, who has been Master Guest chef in many itchefs-GVCI events, has been rewarded for his commitment to the defence of the values and techniques of Italian Cuisine. It’s not the first time that Matteo is at the forefront of the cultural battle for keeping the identity of Italian Cuisine. In the past he has been advisor of the Italian Minister of Culture (again, it was a first time ever that a chef was called to that role).
New Professional Challenge for Franco Luise in Jerusalem
Franco Luise is the new Executive chef of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel of Jerusalem. Franco, a long time itchefs-GVCI associate, is also a very prolific book author who has produced interesting works for both the professional and food lover readership. Recently he has been Chef Consultant for Electrolux and previously Executive Chef of the luxury Molino Stucky Hotel in Venice. Franco has a long experience as a Chef abroad and among the other nations, he worked extensively in Portugal.
Lunch with Naomi Campbell, a Day in the Life of Mario Caramella
“I wake up in the morning, spend 1 hour at the massage and ten minutes in my private pool. Then I have a traditional Italian breakfast in the garden followed by a meeting with my directors and then it's on to a game of golf with my investors.
Afterwards, it's on to a late business lunch at inItaly Bar Ristorante with Naomi Campbell, and a late afternoon drive with my wife in my vintage Lamborghini Diablo to Marina bay Sands for shopping.
In the evening, I fly to Hong Kong on my private jets with my friends and have dinner at Grissini at the Grand Hyatt. Then, I have late night chats with my guests at inItaly Bar Ristorante, 30 Craig Road, Singapore.”
This, and much more you will find in an interview Mario Caramella did for Urban Journey, a worth reading piece on food, wine, living in Singapore and his take on classic and contemporary Italian Cuisine.
Andrea Sacchi wins an Award of Excellence
Andrea Sacchi, The Fullerton Hotel, won the BERNARDAUD Executive Chef of the Year at the 2013 Awards of Excellence. This award seeks to recognise an Executive Chef who is directly involved and responsible for at least two food & beverage outlets and banquet facilities in a hotel environment in Singapore. He was chosen for his consistently set standards of excellence in the culinary arts as well as providing excellent dining experiences.
Andrea Sacchi here with GVCI President Mario Caramella during the Award Ceremony
Andrea Tranchero Head Chef of Modo Mio
Andrea Tranchero, long time Itchef-GVCI associate is now Head Chef of the Ristorante Modo Mio, Burswood, Australia. Andrea represents the new generation of talented Italian chefs who have changed the history of Italian cuisine abroad and after a long road in very significant Asian cities (Tokyo, Beijing) he continues to spread his quality Italian cuisine in Australia.
ItChefs-GVCI associate Mirco Nocchetti to Kuwait City
ItChefs-GVCI associate Mirco Nocchetti leaves his homeland to begin his work as Executive Chef of the Hotel Missoni in Kuwait City. In bocca al luppo!
Parma, June 12-15: Italian Cuisine in the World Forum
The third edition of the Italian Cuisine in the world Forum will be celebrated in Parma on next June 12-15. It’s the only Congress in which chefs, restaurateurs and media representatives coming from over 50 countries gather to discuss on both the achievements and the future of Italian Cuisine (and the related Ho.Re.Ca industry) in the world. They will be joined by food and wine producers, journalists and Michelin star chefs based in Italy.
The Forum is promoted by the network itchefs-GVCI and is supported by prestigious sponsors that play a fundamental role in the export of Italian food and wine. The Forum is an event of exceptional importance since behind the “Italian Cuisine” brand there is a vibrating industry that – according to the most conservative estimates – includes at least 80.000 Italian Restaurants that serve every day millions of eager consumers of Italian food, wine and lifestyle. These restaurants are at the same time ambassadors of both the Italian lifestyle and the unique opportunities that Italy offers to tourists. The over 100 participants to the Forum will represent in some way the approximately 800.000 people involved in the ownership, the management and the running of the Italian Cuisine industry in the world.
The Forum will feature many events, including Round Tables with experts coming from all over the world and tasting workshops on Italian typical products. In the occasion of the Forum the Italian Cuisine in the World Media Awards will be presented to international media that distinguished themselves for publishing outstanding information on Italian food and wine abroad and gastronomic tourism in Italy. For the second year in a row the Forum will host the second edition of the Pasta World Championship promoted by Academia Barilla with participants from 24 countries. At the end of Forum there will be “Export Model”, a food and wine kermesse, open to the general public as well, celebrating the products that made famous Italian cuisine around the world.
Itchefs GVCI Associate, Vincenzo Pezzilli to New York´s upper west side
Itchefs GVCI Associate, Vincenzo Pezzilli has very recently opened his new restaurant in Manhattan. It´s called Gastronomia Culinaria and it promisses to take it´s guests to an authentic journey through Italy´s food and wine.
53 west 106 st (between Manhattan Ave. and Columbus Ave.)
Risotto speaks russian with Pietro Rongoni
ItChefs GVCI long time associate and one of the major influences on authentic Italian cuisine in Moscow, Pietro Rongoni, has recently published a book on Risotto. The publication is in Russian and it´s the ultimate risotto source in that language.
Chef Caramella Celebrates Tiramisu at the Asia Food Channel and Launches Caramella Wine Selection
Almost at the same time of his last appearance on the Asia Food Channel (Singapore), where he celebrated the Tiramisù, Mario Caramella, Chef Patron of inITALY Restaurant Singapore, introduced his private label wines specially curated for inITALY’s signature Italian creations. A consummate wine lover and true traditional Italian, Chef Mario Caramella believes no Italian meal is complete till there’s a glass of vino (or two) in front of each person at the table. Indeed, Italian wines are made to go with food; high acidity levels - quite literally - make your mouth water, cleansing the palate and preparing you for the next irresistible mouthful of home-made eggplant caponata, or parma ham, or risotto all’onda, or even that perfectly-grilled beef Fiorentina.
Wanting to share the pleasures of this essential Italian experience with his guests at inITALY, Chef Mario proudly presents his very own ‘Caramella Selection’ range of wines, specially curated to pair perfectly with his signature cuisine. Each wine hails from the private harvest of boutique wine growers in Piemonte, Italy, and is personally tasted and selected by Chef Mario before being bottled. Chef Mario’s initial portfolio encompasses five quintessential Piemontese wines – Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba and a Moscato d’Asti.
Matteo Bergamini, SD26, Is Best Emerging Chef of Italian Cuisine in New York 2013
Matteo Bergamini, 31, chef or SD26 Restaurant, is the Best Emerging Chef of Italian Cuisine in New York 2013. Matteo has been awarded with this title during the launch of the 6th IDIC - International Day of Italian Cuisine at the International Culinary Center in Manhattan. The IDIC is by now a wonderful opportunity to celebrate culinary professionals all around the world, who have distinguished themselves for the promotion of authentic and quality Italian Cuisine. The announcement of the Best Emerging Chef of Italian Cuisine came after we asked the 20 chefs and Restaurateurs who last year were given the New York Italian Cuisine Awards and other senior professionals to make their nominations.
Matteo Bergamini was born among olive groves and vineyards in Toscolano on Lake Garda in Northern Italy. At the early age of 10, he began working alongside his father in their family butcher shop. Knowing he wanted to be in the restaurant industry, Matteo attended the Caterina De Medici Hotel School in Gardone Riviera where he continued to improve his skills and increase his knowledge about traditional Italian products and cuisine. After graduation, Matteo went to Bourg en Bresse, France where he worked in the restaurant La Reyssouze under chef Alain Detain, learning French technique and cuisine. Matteo then returned to Italy to work at the restaurant Miramonti L’altro where he would be introduced to Chef Odette Fada from San Domenico NY.
When he was 23 years old, Matteo arrived in the United States to work as a sous chef at San Domenico NY under the direction of Tony May. Two years later, Matteo returned to Italy to work as a personal chef to the Russian Minister of Economics along with culinary stints in Egypt and South Africa, continuing to hone his culinary skill and perfect his palate. In 2006, Matteo returned to New York City and resumed his work with San Domenico NY before taking a position at Daniel. During his time at Daniel, Matteo worked his way up through the ranks, earning the position of Chef de Tournant.
In 2009, Matteo joined Chef Odette Fada to open SD26, the reincarnation of San Domenico on Madison Square Park, as Chef de Cuisine. In May 2010, Matteo was named Executive Chef at SD26. Matteo brings his unique approach to modern Italian cuisine to the kitchen at SD26 and has become an integral part of the team that will usher in the next generation of San Domenico to New York City.
Mark Ladner is GVCI Chef of the Year
Mario Caramella, GVCI president has announced who is GVCI Chef of the Year and said: “As every year, we nominate one of us as Chef of the Year. In the past, we have awarded those who had endured serious life threatening situations. It´s always great to be able to nominate someone for better reasons and, for a change, this year we will award a non Italian chef who makes Italian Cuisine... he´s one of the Chefs that we, at GVCI call the Third Generation Italian Cuisine Chefs: MARK LADNER”.
At Del Posto, which he runs with partners Mario Batali, Jason Denton, and Joe and Lidia Bastianich, Mark cooks a sensible interpretation of regional Italian “Cucina Classica”, utilizing responsibly raised and locally grown products. Del Posto holds a 4-star rating from the New York Times, and one star from the prestigious Guide Michelin. He has been working with many influential chefs such as Todd English, Scott Bryan and Jean Georges Vongerichten and worked in various successful Italian restaurants (Babbo, Lupa, Otto).
Here an interview we had the opportunity to make with Mark Ladner:
Interview by Anthony Scillia
Q: Who are some of your Italian culinary inspirations?
A: I'm certainly most influenced by the spirits of both Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich, but also Cesare Casella and other great Italian chefs such as Gualtiero Marchesi, Massimiliano Aljamo and my recent favorite Pino Cuttaia. I'm also heavily influenced by Italian art and design, Michelangelo & Leonardo Da Vinci for example, and Italian service ware houses such as Richard Ginori, Alessi or Ruffoni. I also have some less obvious admiration for amazing Italian tastemakers such as the mid-century designer Gio Ponti (who designed for Richard Ginori for many years), the early 20th century futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti or the great international restaurateurs, the Cipriani family. As well as the fashionistas Emilio Pucci and Mui Mui Prada. Just to name a few...
Q: What drew you to Italian cuisine in the first place?
A: It chose me! The contrast of smooth cutting edge style and design with the warmth and conviviality of family and home inspired simplicity.
Q: Is there one traditional dish of Italian cuisine that was most "inspiring" for you and why?
A: Roman cacio e pepe exemplifies all that I admire about Italian sensibilities. Smooth and silky, firm and creamy texture, salty and piquant. Very few ingredients come together in equal balance. Simple is sophisticated.
Q: What is your concept of authenticity in terms of Italian cuisine and how important is it for the marketing of your restaurant?
A: To me, the most important aspect of Italian authenticity is primarily using fresh food, grown close to home that is prepared simply. In restaurant marketing, in Manhattan today, the diner is very knowledgeable and has lots of choices of where to spend their money and time. Diners have expectations that are not always easily met. Offering a recognizable meal that is also new and exciting while simultaneously offering flexibility for people to customize their experience based on their individual needs, wants and desires seems to be the most challenging thing for us to manage right now.
Itchefs-GVCI associate Franco Luise in charge of Opening the New Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem
Itchefs-GVCI associate Franco Luise has decided to leave his current position as Electrolux Professional Corporate Chef to Executive Chef in charge of Opening the New Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. He´s getting ready for this new challenge that will be effective next March 2013. Congratulations!
The Tools of the trade nº1:
A modest implement for important events
Verdicchio di Jesi passito, Brachetto d’Acqui, Malvasia dolce, Moscato, Marsala dolce, Moscadello di Montalcino, Sciacchetrà liquoroso and so many other sweet, liqueur-like wines with the aroma of ripe fruit and of flowers to accompany cakes or deserts, but what else is needed, other than the appropriate glass, to be able to enjoy these delights? The corkscrew… naturally!
The origin of the corkscrew is lost in mystery; the most credible hypothesis is perhaps the one of the Englishman, Bernard Watney, who maintains that the invention (of about 1680) of this object was originated by the spiral twist of the ball retrieving rod, used by soldiers to extract projectiles caught in the barrels of muzzle loading firearms. It is curious to think that the invention of the corkscrew had its origin in England, where by 1700 it was already an object of common use, in a country that produces beer and cider but no wine.
Thanks to the early industrialisation that occurred in England, the low cost production of glass bottles of varying volumes was quickly developed, giving bottles high usage. Originally, bottles were of onion shape, which was slowly to be replaced by the cylindrical shape that we are accustomed to see today. Naturally, this narrow-mouthed recipient had to be given a reliable closing; the most suitable was considered to be of cork, which had already been used for years for closing terracotta amphorae and wooden casks.
The first corkscrews were simple instruments of dimensions small enough to be carried in one’s pocket. They were mostly of iron, a resistant material of low cost, although this was sometimes combined with other more noble materials such as brass, silver, ivory, mother of pearl and gold. The simplest corkscrew is the T-shaped one, which is used together with manual traction and its function is elementary; it only has to be sunk into the cork by rotating and placing pressure on the worm or screw, usually while squeezing the bottle between one’s thighs and, then, exerting an often considerable force of traction, in order to extract the stopper from the neck.
Various scientific tests conducted on eighteen different corkscrews with the objective of establishing their efficiency did not succeed in giving any indication for the selection of the ideal corkscrew or suggest which characteristics this tool should have to be able to uncork a bottle correctly with more ease and less strain.
The characteristics of a good corkscrews are the following: the tip of the screw or worm should be inclined in such a manner to facilitate its insertion into the cork, the worm should entre the cork at the point closest to the centre in order not to damage the cork tissue before its extraction and, finally, the screw should be long enough in order to be able to enter the full length of the cork, to simplify the extraction of the stopper, even if this may perhaps causes the falling of detritus of cork into the wine.
The difference of opinion among specialists remains to be commented on; should the screw of a corkscrew enter the full length of the cork or stop some millimetres before? There can be two answers, both being true. If the stopper is manufactured out of cork of optimum quality and if the corkscrew is equipped with a sharply pointed screw, it is better if it enters the full length of the cork thus making its extraction easier, while if the stopper consists of cork chips of low quality, if the screw passes the full length of the cork there is a strong risk that cork particles will fall into the wine.
What ever, it seems worthwhile to me to remember that the corkscrew, always present in moments of enjoyment, opens the way to one of the true pleasures of life; relishing a glass of excellent wine!
Itchefs-GVCI associate Francesco Farris, Best New restaurant 2012 in Dallas
Zio Cecio, Francesco Farris´ Sardinian restaurant in Dallas, Texas was proclaimed by D Magazine one of the Best New Restaurants of year 2012. Congratulations!
See the review.
Itchefs-GVCI associate Francesco Sanna´s Paletto: Best Western Restaurant - Editor's Pick 2012
Paletto Italian Restaurant, Ritz Carlton Shenzhen has been awarded "Best Western Restaurant - Editor's Pick 2012" by the influential Voyage Magazine 新旅行 in their Annual Gourmet Gold List. The proud awardee is Itchefs-GVCI associate Francesco Sanna.
Winners of the "Best Western Restaurant - Editor's Pick Award" are chosen by a group of senior F&B editors of the press through deliberation lasting several months. Congratulations Francesco!
8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA HK achieves 3 Michelin Stars for two consecutive years
8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA HK has received for two years in a row the highest rating awarded by the judges of the Michelin guide.
Itchefs GVCI would like to congratulate Chef Bombana and his team, leadered by Danilo Nicoletti, for this renewed acknowledgement. We had the opportunity of enjoying one of Chef Bombana´s remarkable meals during the last Italian Cuisine & Wine World Summit where he cooked side by side with 3 Michelin Stared Chefs Chicco Cerea and Heinz Beck for the opening gala dinner of the Wine and Spirit´s Fair: The luxury of the Fall´s Table.
A unique Gastronomical Event in Minsk with Chef Giuseppe Zanotti hosting 2 Michelin Stared Chef Marco Sacco
Itchefs GVCI Chef Giuseppe Zanotti, executive chef of Restaurant Falcone, Minsk in Belarus, was the organizer of a two Gala event that took place on December 7 and 8, 2012. The event was open both to the public and to journalists from different media. The themes of the evenings were “Tradition” and “Evolution”, the special Guest was another itchefs-GVCI associate, 2 Michelin stared Chef Marco Sacco from Piccolo Lago Restaurant, Verbania. "To each product its story to every man his interpretation" was the leit motiv of this unique evenings.
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,
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.
InITALY Bar Ristorante, Mario Caramella's New Venture in Singapore
GVCI President, former Bali Sanur Hyatt Hotel (Indonesia) Executive Chef and now Chef Patron of the brand new In Italy, Mario Caramella opens his new place along Craig Road in Singapore. A smart, mediterranean restaurant, conceived around authentic Italian cuisine, it can seat 40 guests inside and 20 in the terrace.
Some of the dishes to be found in the menu are: Fritto Misto (crispy calamari, prawns, soft shell crab, honey mustard and balsamic dip), Acqua Pazza (red garoupa with tomatoes, capers, green olives, mussels and clams), Stufato di Manzo (stewed beef cheek with porcini mushrooms and polenta) and, as Rosario Scarpato called it "the renaissance of Bollito Misto" (boiled beef, veal, pork, chicken, veal tongue and vegetables with a selection of dips).
In bocca al lupo!
Rosario Scarpato (food journalist and TV director), Maria Brown and Hian Goh,
the spearheads of the Asian Food Channel, and Mario Caramella
New Restaurant in Hong Kong, Messina with ItChefs-GVCI associate Chef Francesco Greco up front
As it has been said, this new Italian Restaurant is worth making the ferry ride to Hung Hom for!
Part of K.O. Dining Group, Messina is set-up for diners to enjoy the modern Sicilian menu as much as the unobstructed views of the Victoria Harbour.
The head chef is long time ItChefs-GVCI associate Francesco Greco, who has worked at award-winning restaurants all over the world from Paris (at the Michelin-starred Taillevent) and New York (the Michelin-rated Del Posto NYC, Gramercy Tavern and Veritas NYC) to Jakarta and Shanghai, and now Hong Kong. Messina serves modern Sicilian cuisine. The blend of French technique (given Greco´s training) and southern Italian cuisine is a refined combination that makes the menu particularly unique. Greco’s specialties are tuna carpaccio and crispy suckling pig.
"As the Asian capital of gastronomy, Hong Kong represents the perfect platform for us to launch our first project because its sophisticated community of connoisseurs can best appreciate the exceptionally high quality of our offerings. The city, with its high tourism traffic, also enables us to quickly establish wide brand recognition across the region for future growth." said Kazuo Okada, Chairman of the Board of Director of Universal Entertainment Corporation.
Messina, 5/F, The Harbourfront Landmark, 11 Wan Hoi St., Hung Hom, +852 3746 2733
ItChefs-GVCI associate, Michele Senigaglia Opens new Restaurant in Hong Kong
DiVino Patio is a cozy and relaxed Italian restaurant for power lunch-ers and relaxed dinner guests. ItChefs-GVCI associate Michele Senigaglia has worked full steam to open this restaurant in Wan Chai of which the interior follows a simplistic and modern design concept. DiVino Patio is a 4,000 square-foot restaurant which seats around 140 guests. An outside space is open for guests during lunch hours, and private rooms are available for special occasions. Be sure to try the signature dishes: home-made chicken and Boston lobster linguine.
1/F, Shop 11, Brim 28 - Causeway Centre, 28 Harbour Rd., Wan Chai, Hong Kong - 2877-3552
Chefs Raised Money for the Relief of the Emilia Romagna Earthquake
May 2012, an earthquake takes place in the Emilia Romagna region leaving severe consequences: many people hurt, homeless or even deceased. The Parma Forum took place in June and the Chefs decided to give a symbolic amount for the victims. A total of: Euro 1992.76 were raised and given to the Gazzetta of Parma for the assistance of the town of Cervezzo, which was severely hit. For the occasion the chefs participating in the Forum, signed a uniform which was given together with the money.
The GVCI Wins the Prestigious “Orio Vergani” Award
The Board of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina has granted the prestigious Orio Vergani 2012 Award to the GVCI (Virtual Group of Italian Chefs).
Prof. Giovanni Ballerini, Accademia Italiana della Cucina President, has officially written to Mario Caramella, GVCI President and Chef-Patron of the soon opening 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.
“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 to GVCI”, said Mario Caramella, accepting the Award on behalf of the network. The ceremony of the presentation of the Award will be held in Milan, next October.
The first ITALIAN CUISINE IN THE WORLD FORUM: Parma from June 14-16
From June 14 – 16, 2012 a great event is being held in Parma, Italy: The Italian Cuisine in the World Forum, an initiative designed to bring together all the Italian Cuisine Master Chefs, restaurateurs and other professionals of the gastronomic world working outside Italy. The Forum, which is the result of last year´s meeting in Parma for the Launch of the Certificate of Proficiency in Italian Cuisine, is a great opportunity to debate the state of Italian cuisine in the world and to give to the participants an exciting program also for professional growth. The Forum, created with the cooperation of www.itchefs-gvci.com, is also an excellent opportunity to network, find colleagues, make new acquaintances and to discuss the possibility of new employment opportunities with companies abroad.
Hosted at Academia Barilla.
Program available here.
For more info please contact
Special Happy Birthday to Gualtiero Marchesi from GVCI Chefs
On the occasion of Master Chef Gualtiero Marchesi´s 82nd Birthday, GVCI celebrated the birth of the father of Modern Italian Cuisine, as well. GVCI president Mario Caramella has proposed to honor the Maestro by preparing and offering to their guests one of Chef Marchesi´s recipes. These are a few of the participants and their dishes! Read more about the event.
A Very Special "Happy Birthday" to Gualtiero Marchesi, the Father of Modern Italian Cuisine from GVCI
On the occasion of Master Chef Gualtiero Marchesi´s 82nd Birthday we at itchefs-GVCI wanted to celebrate the birth of the father of Moder Italian Cuisine, as well. GVCI president Mario Caramella has proposed that, on March 19th, all chefs joining the initiative will honor the Maestro by preparing and offering to their guests one of Chef Marchesi´s recipes. All itchefs- GVCI Chefs interested in joining the initiative may add their info here.
Thank you one more time for joining us!
Participating chefs (to date)
Gualtiero Marchesi was born in Milan in 1930. He begun his professional training at the KulmHotel in Saint Moritz and then moved on to the Ecole Hôteliere in Switzerland (1948-1950). Back in Italy, he started working in the family restaurant in the Mercato hotel in Milan, creating an avant garde cuisine, which respected traditional as well as classical cooking. Eager to improve his knowledge, he then went to work in some of the best restaurants in France such as Ledoyen in Paris, Le Chapeau Rouge in Dijon and the Troisgros in Roanne. This experience improved his knowledge of French and international cuisine, which has continued to broaden and improve in subsequent years.
In 1977, he opened his own restaurant in via Bonvesin de la Riva in Milan.
It was awarded a Michelin star in its first year and two stars in 1978. The food critics Gault and Millau, in an interview published in the Times, named Gualtiero Marchesi as one of the best chefs in the world. His name is on the pages of the most famous food guides and in 1985 the Michelin Guide book paid homage to Gualtiero Marchesi by making him the first non-Frenchman to be awarded three stars. Gualtiero Marchesi is also a founding-member of Euro-Toques International, the European Community of chefs, founded under the auspices of the EU.
In 1986 he was appointed Cavaliere or “Knight” of the Republic. The same year he received the Ambrogino d’Oro prize, the highest acclamation from the city of Milan. In 1989 he became the first person in Italy to receive the International Personnalité de l’année prize for gastronomy.
Confirmation of his international role came in 1990, when he was honoured by the French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, with the title Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
In 1991 he was appointed Commendatore by the President of Italy, Francesco Cossiga.
In September 1993 he moved his Ristorante Gualtiero Marchesi to a villa in Erbusco in the heart of the Franciacorta region.
In 1999, the region of Lombardy awarded him the Longobardo d’Oro Seal. This award is given to the most important and famous Lombard people in Italy and all over the world. In June 2000 he was awarded the famous Paul Harris Prize by the Rotary Club.
In 2002 the International Academy of Gastronomy awarded Gualtiero Marchesi the Grand Prix Mémoire et Gratitude. In January 2004 he will be bringing to life a muchdesired project with the launch of ALMA, the International School for Italian Cuisine.
On May 2008 Gualtiero Marchesi opened a new restaurant in Milan calling it Il Marchesino in Teatro alla Scala building. It is a triumphal return to Milan which represents the beginning of his career.
On January 2009 during Madrid Fusion he received The Golden Apron with most important chefs who over the last decade have not only been acclaimed and respected by both general public but have changed our whole approach to cuisine. In Madrid, on February 2009, the weekly Metropoli gave to him the International Award for the career, set up for the first year.
On 19th March, for his 80th birthday, Gualtiero Marchesi create “Fondazione Gualtiero Marchesi” for teaching arts through the taste.
From April to July 2010, in Milan at Castello Sforzesco, took place the exhibition “Gualtiero Marchesi and the Great Italian Cuisine”.
The Exposition “Gualtiero Marchesi and the Great Italian Cuisine” has been presented at the Italian Embassy of Bruxelles and from the 26th until 29th of October at the European Parliament.
Grana Padano Italian Cuisine Worldwide Awards
This year´s Grana Padano Italian Cuisine Worldwide Awards will be launched simultaneously in a Live Press Conference in New York (International Culinary Center), Milano (Villa Torretta Restaurant) and Moscow (Aromi Italiani Restaurant).
The Award Ceremony will take place in Moscow on January 17 during a Gala Dinner prepared by Master Chefs Marco Sacco, Sergio Vineis and Andrea Ribaldone form Stelle del Piemonte and an Ossobuco in Gremolata alla Milanese tasting, our official IDIC 2012 dish that will be prepared by Tano Simonato, from Tano passami l´olio Restaurat.
See IDIC 2012 Program
More info about Grana Padano ICWA
Kentaro Torii, GVCI´s Chef of the Year
Mario Caramella, GVCI president has announced who is GVCI Chef of the Year and said: “As every year, we nominate one of us as Chef of the Year. In the past, we have awarded those who had endured serious life threatening situations, who had found themselves in the middle of bombings or terrorist attacks. It´s always great to be able to nominate someone for better reasons and, for a change, this year we will award a non Italian chef who makes Italian Cuisine... he´s one of the Chefs that we, at GVCI call the Third Generation Italian Cuisine Chefs: KENTARO TORII”.
Kentaro Torii is a 29 year old Japanese chef. He´s currently the executive chef of OChre Italian Restaurant & Bar, Singapore.
Born in Yokohama, the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture, he attended culinary school and worked at DaDa, a Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant. Impassioned by the Italian culture and food, he left for Florence to learn the language and everything he could about the country. He then moved to the city of Pavia, in Lombardy, famous for its risottos. There he joined the Al Pino Restaurant as an assistant chef and acquired a grounding in the cuisines of the north with its rich, hearty fare.
Chef Kentaro next relocated to Sardinia and there he immersed himself in the cuisine of the south and the bounty of seafood. He then went on to head the fine dining Italian restaurant at the Mariana Resort and Spa Hotel in Saipan, where he led an international team.
Chef Kentaro moved to Singapore in 2006 and worked as an executive chef at Tavolo Italian restaurant. Today, Chef Kentaro is leveraging on his experience to meld authentic Italian flavours with modern influences at OChre.
Click on photos to enlarge:
Giorgio Nava received the Award for Best Italian Restaurant in Southafrica
95 Keerom, GVCI´s associate Giorgio Nava´s Restaurant in Cape Town, has received the 2011 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Award for Best Italian Restaurant in Southafrica. There are no secrets to this acknowledgement: “There is a lot of con-fusion around, that’s why we are successful with our simple and classic cuisine”, says Giorgio, this proudly "Milanese DOC" who makes norther italian cuisine, is very meticulous and pays a lot of attention to the ingredients.
Susy Masseti opened her new Restaurant: Il Masso
Chef Susy Masseti opened her new place in Bahrain, Il Masso. In her own words: "We have opened our place a month ago and I am very proud! We also have an organic orchad. In summ, it's a dream come true!" In bocca al lupo!
Francesco Farris opened “Zio Cecio”, his new venture in Dallas, with honours!
GVCI veteran Francesco Farris opened his new restaurant “Zio Cecio” in Dallas, his town of residence since 1991. Above anything else, Francesco enjoys cooking and being a host to his customers. He owns a unique cooking style, with a vast knowledge of Italian cuisines in particular of his native Sardinia. So this is a not-to-be-missed-experience! To make this experience even more fullfilling, he was awarded 5 stars which is the top rate in the US!
Praises as appeared on Dallas News:
Every neighborhood needs a cozy, reliable Italian spot. Find one in your quarter where you can also count on a warm welcome, food that’s a cut above the ordinary, great service and some nice wines, and you’re in fat city.
Zio Cecio, Francesco Farris’ new restaurant on West Lovers Lane, has already become such a go-to place for Park Cities pasta-seekers, many of whom no doubt remember the chef-owner from his days at Arcodoro and Pomodoro, which he used to run with his brother Efisio. (Efisio and his wife, Lori, still own that restaurant.)
The family hails from Sardinia, and black-and-white photos of Farris’ relatives gracing the deep coral-colored walls reinforce the feeling that Farris is welcoming you into his home. The affable host plays the part of the jolly uncle (Zio means “uncle,” and Cecio is a nickname for Francesco), urging diners to try this, try that, let me fillet that branzino for you — I’ll make you something special.
In fact I was recognized as a critic, but to witness Farris communing with diners at every last table, one has with the impression that all who walk in the door are treated as long-lost — or newfound — friends. Farris is an equal-opportunity doter.
If it’s Sardinian dishes you’re after, you’ll have to hunt and peck around the menu a bit. There’s nothing with bottarga (dried mullet roe), but there is grilled octopus. Unfortunately it drowns a bit in its copious amount of spicy tomato sauce. There’s also wonderfully tender baby octopus antipasto in a squid ink sauce the color of midnight. Served on orzo the menu identifies as “homemade,” it’s an appealing starter, though oversalted when I sampled it.
My favorite antipasti were carpacci. Tenderloin sliced paper-thin, strewn with capers and shaved Parmigiano and drizzled with good olive oil, was simple and correct. Even better were thin-sliced scallops drizzled with olive oil and garnished with microgreens, slivers of blanched tomato and (weirdly) lemon-grass stalks.
The orzo mentioned on the menu notwithstanding, the pastas are not made in-house, though they are fresh, brought in from Fresh Pasta Delight. Often referred to as “Jack’s Fresh Pasta,” the firm supplies many local restaurants. Farris says the owner uses Farris’ recipe for pasta destined for Zio Cecio, though to my palate, Zio Cecio’s pastas have the same taste and texture of other Jack’s Fresh Pasta I’ve tasted around town. It’s fine, but some of the shapes, such as spaghetti, have a texture that’s less than ideal — not quite gummy, but almost. The sheets used for ravioli-type filled pasta, like mezzaluna or quadratini, are better, if a bit thick; they don’t have the silkiness you can get in a good handmade pasta, nor the appealing texture of a great dried pasta.
Which is a long-winded way of saying that although I loved Farris’ carbonara sauce — a classic eggy, cheesy version with the slight variation of guanciale (cured pork jowl) used in place of pancetta — a good dried spaghetti, one that gets some nice texture from being cut using traditional bronze dies, would suit it better.
Quadratini alla mentuccia — midsize ravioli with a smooth filling of potatoes, ricotta and a good hit of fresh mint — has a more Sardinian flavor; it’s lovely tossed in a gentle, fresh and bright-tasting tomato sauce.
Off the menu, you can also get gnocchi sardi. Bathed in a meaty, not too tomatoey Bolognese sauce, the (imported) semolina dumplings are wonderful.
It’s too bad Farris gives the Sardinian dishes short shrift, as the more generic dishes are much less successful. Among the secondi, thyme-crusted lamb chops were beautifully cooked, but a reduction of red Cannonau wine sweet as a port sauce ruined the dish. And osso buco, that 1970s dinner party cliché of a dish, makes an appearance on mashed potatoes. Its sauce, which traditionally features diced aromatic vegetables, is puréed into a gravylike texture. The giant shank, covered thus in gravy and sitting on that mash, has good flavor, but those textures render it monotonous.
But a couple of specials were so good I’d come back for them anytime.
The first is a simple branzino roasted in a salt crust, filleted tableside and drizzled with fresh, fruity olive oil. The menu proposes other salt-crusted whole fish for two, priced at $62.50, but Farris usually has a branzino on hand perfect for one, for $37.50 to $42. It’s lovely served with sliced, simply grilled vegetables.
The other is fabulous suckling pig roasted with myrtle leaves. Burnished gorgeously, it bursts with juicy flavor, a wonderful, rich yet delicate porkiness mingled with a sort of sweet bay flavor from the myrtle. Farris does right in serving it with just some good roast potatoes. He assures me it is available more often than not.
Arcodoro and Pomodoro is the only other Dallas restaurant I can think of that serves Sardinian-style suckling pig, so a comparison is inevitable, and Zio Cecio’s comes out the winner by far. When I had it several months ago at Arcodoro, it was dry and lacking in flavor.
There’s a wood-burning pizza oven in Zio Cecio’s kitchen, but Farris started firing it up only on the occasion of my last visit, when it turned out some terrific, golden-brown, crisp-edged focaccia topped lightly with rosemary and sea salt. I look forward to tasting the pizzas.
There were several Sardinian reds on Zio Cecio’s concise wine list until recently; lately I settled for a 2008 Bavi “Libera” Barbera d’Asti. Reasonably priced at $38, it worked well with both scallop carpaccio and suckling pig and everything in between, though it was served a little too warm.
Come dessert time, if your experience is anything like mine, you won’t see a sweets menu — Farris prefers to come to the table and talk it over. He’s clearly excited about his house-made gelato, and I liked the flavor of his myrtle gelato, but not the texture, like an airy, fluffy soft-serve. There’s decent tiramisu and a nice crème brûlée for fans of those two shopworn (there, I said it) desserts.
I wish I’d remembered two sweets I saw listed right on the dinner menu: a torta di limone alla grappa — lemon cake infused with grappa — or fresh ricotta cheese with a drizzle of bitter honey and dusted with black pepper.
The latter sounds beautifully Sardinian. All the more reason to return.
Zio Cecio (3 stars)
Price: $$$ (salads, antipasti and carpacci $8.50 to $13.50; pastas and pizzas $13.50 to $19.50; main courses $19.50 to $62.50 for whole fish for two; desserts $8.50)
Service: Solicitous, warm and professional
Ambience: An inviting and intimate dining room painted a deep pumpkin orange, with a small bar, open kitchen, rustic tables, a glassed-in wine cellar and pretty tile work. There’s a covered patio in front.
Location: 4615 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas; 214-351-1100; ziocecio.com
Hours: Daily 5 to 10 p.m.
Credit cards: All major
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Smoking area: None
Alcohol: Full bar. The two-page wine list offers mostly Italian vintages, including a few decent selections for less than $40 per bottle.
Umberto Bombana received his 3rd Michelin Star!
From left to right: Rosario Scarpato, Bobbo Cerea, Umberto Bombana, Chicco Cerea and Mario Caramella
Of all the Italian restaurants around the world, according to a prestigious Michelin guide, one alone deserves three stars (the highest rating awarded by the judges of the guide). It won´t be found in New York or Paris, but in Hong Kong: Umberto Bombana´s "Otto e Mezzo".
Itchefs GVCI would like to congratulate Chef Bombana and his team, leadered by Danilo Nicoletti, for this acknowledgement. We had the opportunity of closing the last Italian Cuisine & Wine World Summit at his restaurant where “the King of white truffles” was joined by two other 3-Michelin-Stared Chefs: Chicco e Bobo Cerea (Da Vitorio Ristorante) to prepare an unforgettable meal.
Talented itchefs-GVCI Associates Protagonists of the Sfoglino D´Oro Award in Bologna
From left to right, the GVCI musketeers: Francesco Farris, Giuseppe Atzori, Daniel Evangelista,
Ignazio Podda, Donato de Sanits, Dario Congera, Jessica Botta
The International Award Sfoglino D´Oro (The Golden Doughmaker) is a contest organized by the Municipality of Bologna and devoted to dough making (tirare la sfoglia) in the traditional style of the Capital of the Emilia Romagna Region. The Challenge was open to all those professional sfoglini (dough stretchers) who think that dough making is an art, which requires ability and experience. Selected participants from all over the world competed on Sunday 2nd October 2011 in the picturesque setting of the ancient library Salaborsa in the heart of Bologna. The event attracted large audience, more than 2000 people have passed through the Piazza Coperta in the morning. A jury, made by prestigious components, selected the 2011 Golden Doughmaker (Sfoglino d’oro): Beniamino Baleotti.
Itchefs GVCI Honorary President and one of its alma maters Rosario Scarpato, surrounded by
participant Chefs Jessica Botta, Daniel Evangelista, Francesco Farris, Dario Congera,
Giuseppe Atzori, Ignazio Podda and Donato de Santis
Talented itchefs- GVCI associates coming from all over the world accepted the challenge and competed among 23 particpants. Handmade dough is the result of a difficult art to muster and requires skillful hands. It was, originally, a women’s task and now it is a fundamental legacy of the Italian Chefs working abroad. Our chefs: Giuseppe Atzori, Jessica Botta, Dario Congera, Donato De Santis, Daniel Evangelista, Francesco Farris, Ignazio Podda took part in the competition to give their contribution to the preservation of this unique technique of the Italian culinary culture.
Beniamino Baleotti, the winner of the award, was born in Bologna in 1984 and he lives in Pianoro (BO). He´s a professional sfoglino.
The participants with Nadia Monti, Assesor of Productive Activities of the Comune of Bologna
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Born in 1964 in Verona is a chef with 32 years of experience in the field of culinary arts. He learnt the true meaning of produce and cuisine very early in his life, from his family, who tried to make him understand the importance of gastronomy and authentic flavors. At the young age of 14, he entered the Istituto Alberghiero di Bardolino and now after so many years of experience he´s Executive chef at the hotel Vista Real in Guatemala. Passion and love is his creed in cuisine.
Just as her own mentor, Chef Fabio Trabocchi of Fiamma, taught her, Chef Jessica Botta emphasizes to her students the importance of supreme attention to detail and respect for craftsmanship at all stages of the culinary process, from prep to plate. Her favorite cookbook, Le Ricette Regionale Italiane, has no shortage of recipes for her preferred dish to cook and eat: pasta! Her leadership and integrity instill students with confidence, and her dedication to the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance demonstrates her devotion to advancing the ideals of the industry. Joined The International Culinary Center in 2008.
Dario was born in Savona Italian Riviera from an Italian family. His love for food and beverage came when he was very young. He started to work at the age of 14 in a small hotel in his home town Finale Ligure. Since then, he's lived in some of the world's most glamorous grounds –Rome, St. Moritz, Paris, Cairo, Jakarta and Shanghai and now he´s back in Taipei. Dario has worked for many international hotel industry companies –Four Points, Shangri-la, Sheraton, and Westin. His profound passion for cooking has been developed in his illustrious career, Dario is known for his dedication and keen eye for detail with extensive multinational experience, strong customer service ethos. Aside from being an exceptional Dario likes listening rock and heavy metal music and playing drums.
DONATO DE SANTIS
Born in Milan and grew up in Puglia, Donato began his career at L'Antica Osteria del Teatro, Piacenza (Emilia Romagna). A veteran of Italian cuisine abroad, worked in famous establishments in the United States as well as Gianni Versace's personal chef at Casa Casuarina and New York. In Argentina and Latin America, since 2000, he has become a famous chef and host of television programs. He´s the owner and soul of Cucina Paradiso, deli, wine, coffee and more, located in Buenos Aires, and has published successful books that have won important international accolades.
Daniel Evangelista is a talented chef who completed his education at hotel school management in 1990 and supported by his seasonal and evening work experiences reached the rank of chef, while working in several restaurants in Milan. To satisfy his desire to learn new cuisine cultures he moved to Paris where, together with chef Aristide Devita, newly graduated from Alain Ducasse - The Cortile founded the restaurant Fra Diavolo. Daniel went then to Sydney where he opened another successful restaurant in Little Italy. Finally he landed in Ankara where in the last eight years he has opened a number of restaurants, managing the Mezzaluna´s cuisines at the same time.
He spent his childhood years in Orosei on his native island of Sardinia. After graduating with a liberal arts degree from the Instituto Agrario in Nuoro, Francesco worked with many exclusive resorts in Italy, both as cook and manager, including Salice d'Ulzio in Piedmont. He joined his brother in the United States in 1991 to pursue a career in the restaurant industry, in both of their restaurants: Arcodoro and Pomodoro, Houston. This year has opened his new restaurant “Zio Cecio” in Dallas, his town of residence since 1991. Above anything else, Francesco enjoys cooking and being a host to his customers. He owns a unique cooking style, with a vast knowledge of Italian cuisines in particular of his native Sardinia.
Ignazio has a keen understanding of modern and traditional cuisine and permits himself creativity in the kitchen. From Italy’s Alpine Valle d’Aosta, where he received his training and launched his career, he broadened his experience with three years as chef in Italian and Japanese restaurants in pretentious San Francisco, California and since 2002 has been based in Jamaica, where he is presently holds the position of executive chef at the Royal Plantation Villa and consults other resorts in the West Indies.
Italian Cuisine Worldwide Awards 2012
The pre selection for the Grana Padano Italian Cuisine Worldwide Awards 2012 is underway. This time it will be in charge of the recently certified Italian Cuisine Master Chefs. Conceived to honour individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the introduction, spreading and preservation of the Italian food and wine culture in the countries they live in. This year´s Jury will be composed as always by prestigious members of the food and wine industry: Luigi Cremona, Paolo Marchi, Vinicio Eminenti, Roberto Bava and Rosario Scarpato. The ceremony will take place in Moscow and New York during the next IDIC edition.
See past editions: 2011 and 2010.
Marcello Russodivito celebrated the 25th Anniversary of his restaurant
Last June 16 and 23 Marcello´s celebrated it´s 25th Anniversary in a big way. All his friends, guests and supporters assisted to the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern, NY where the event, hosted by the Brindiamo TV show hostess Ornella Fado, took place. Featuring the Fun Bunch Big Band and a special show by singer Crisitna Fontanelli among others. Congratulations on this achivement! More info.
Antonio tardi: the achievement of excellence thru simplicity
Antonio Tardi has been head Chef at the Marco Polo Restaurant for one year now, he has earned his reputation for Italian traditional dishes with a contemporary twist in a context of fine dining. His most recent idea is a menu full of evocations and memories of his Neapolitan childhood and upbringing. Of course, Chef Tardi has added to those dishes his own mark, coined after many years of experience. His philosophy: La semplicita' e una conquista! (Simpliciy is a conquest).
Now everyone can enjoy wonderful dishes such as: Cured Tuna served with Crème Fraiche Quail Eggs and Caviar, Scialiatelli served with Calamari and Clam Sauce, Baccalà served with Potato, Artichokes and Burrata Sauce, a Minestra Maritata and more. A piece of Napoli in a 38th floor overlooking the city of Taipei.
Mario Caramella: "My style is contemporary but I retain authenticity"
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Lambrusco: The new Italian Renaissance
Is the title of a campaign promoted to restore the image of the most known Italian wine in the world. Promoted by the Enoteca Emilia Romagna, it will involve over 40 fine Italian restaurants (in 20 countries) of the itchefs-gvci network. Each chef will present a recipe that matches the best Lambruscos produced in the Region of Emilia Romagna, 2010 harvest. In the last few years the winemakers of the Region have consistently put on the market expressions of this wine that gained the approval of important wine guides. These Lambruscos have nothing to do with the poor quality brands -or appalling imitations- often found in so-called Italian restaurants (and not only) all around the world. The aim of the campaign is to contribute to the renaissance of Lambrusco, as a true ambassador of quality Italian Cuisine.
The CNO in New York City
The CNO (Consorzio Nazionale degli Olivicultori), a 40-year-old Italian National Organization of more than 200.000 olive producers, was also present in the IDIC 2011 hosting a special presentation of its Program of Traceability of High Quality Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil in New York City in a Luncheon prepared by GVCI Chef Paolo Monti at the Italian Culinary Academy.
Vittorio Lucariello is the new chef at Tosca
GVCI long time member Vittorio Lucariello is the new chef at Tosca Restaurant at the brand new and very luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong. Vittorio has an impressive career that includes working at the Grissini (Grand Hyatt HK) and the Angelini (Shangri-la HK) Restaurants. This new destination will for sure be an equally successful one. Named after one of the best-loved operas of all time, Tosca will offer Southern Italian cuisine in a dramatically stylish backdrop. The open kitchen design and high ceiling complete the unique and spectacular dining experience that bares Vittorio´s touch of using the freshest ingredients to highlight it´s natural flavors. The Restaurant is due to open next March 29th.
Francesco Farris is opening “Zio Cecio”, his new venture in Dallas
Next May, GVCI veteran Francesco Farris will open his new restaurant “Zio Cecio” in Dallas, his town of residence since 1991. Above anything else, Francesco enjoys cooking and being a host to his customers. He owns a unique cooking style, with a vast knowledge of Italian cuisines in particular of his native Sardinia. So this will be a not-to-be-missed-experience!
The New York City Première of the IDIC 2011
The New York City Première of the IDIC 2011 was hosted by Chef Cesare Casella at the Italian Culinary Academy. Cesare, Dean of the Academy, leader of itchefs-gvci in the USA and co-founder of Salumeria Rosi hosted Chef Massimilano Alajmo, the three-Michelin-starred chef of Le Calandre restaurant (Rubano, Italy) who was in charge of the Gala Dinner Event.
For more details on the NYC events, check our program.
Massimiliano Alajmo in NYC for the IDIC 2011
On January 12th and 13th, Massimiliano Alajmo of Le Calandre (Rubano – Padova, Italy) , Italy’s youngest three-star Michelin chef, headlined The International Day of Italian Cuisines (IDIC) at The Italian Culinary Academy located at The International Culinary Center in New York City. With a family run international restaurant empire, hotel, gourmet food shop, product line and the “Best Cookbook in the World” under his belt before the age the of 40, Massimiliano Alajmo is perhaps one of the most recognizable chefs in Italy. As in past editions, the event celebrated the authenticity and quality of Italian Cuisine and in this context the Italian Cuisines Worldwide Awards 2011 was presented to the winners. In New York City, the recipients will be: DOROTHY CANN HAMILTON, MARIO BATALI, TONY MAY and PAUL BARTOLOTTA.
For more details on the NYC events, check our program.
Massimo Bottura in Singapore for the IDIC 2011
The IDIC 2011 was launched in Singapore (as well as in New York City and Genova -see the whole program of events-) with some great events scheduled for 13th January. In Singapore, Mario Caramella, GVCI president and recently appointed chef patron of Forlino Rastaurant hosted Massimo Bottura, one of the most talented and famous contemporary Italian Chefs. The two-Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana, Modena (number six of the best 50 of the world’s restaurants) prepared the Launch Luncheon for the IDIC 2011 and an exclusive Wine Gala Dinner. The luncheon saw the awarding of the Italian Cuisine Worldwide Awards (ICWA) that is, the Oscars of Italian oenogastronomy in the world. Two of them went to Singapore based successful restaurateurs: Beppe De Vito and Roberto Galetti.
For more details on the IDIC 2011 events, check our program.
Mario Caramella Chef Patron at Forlino (Singapore)
From next January, Mario Caramella, the President of GVCI, will be the Chef Patron at Forlino Restaurant in Singapore. A creature of Beppe De Vito, Forlino is one of the best addresses in town for quality Italian cuisine. In the last few years Mario Caramella has worked as executive chef of a luxury hotel in Bali (Indonesia). His debut at Forlino will coincide with the launch of the International Day of Italian Cuisines and Forlino will host Italian celebrity chef Massimo Bottura.
ITALIAN DIVINE ESCAPES ARE NOW CLOSER
The renowned Italian food writer Luigi Cremona and his partner Lorenza Vitali have just published "Divines Escapes” (Mete Divine), a beautiful guide to more than 100 top Italian hotels with great gourmet restaurants inside. The book, in Italian and English, is an exclusive, perfect travel companion for those who want to dine in style in Italy and sleep under the same roof. An ideal book to plan romantic escapes as well. Published by Witaly, the publication has 300 pages and for each hotel’s restaurant there is a picture of both the place and chef plus one of her/his signature dish. Form more information and to order the book, click here
A Letter from Gianni Favro: “It was a very sad period…”
I would have preferred to receive the title of GVCI Chef of the Year as recognition of my work rather than because of the unpleasant events that occurred in Bangkok in the months of April and May this year.
You will remember that the economic centre of the city was held hostage by a large group of protestors who were able to cut it off with nasty, rudimentary bamboo barricades. It happened one morning that I witnessed the dousing of innumerable rags woven into the barriers with big tanks of gasoline, ready to be set on fire whenever the army attempted to approach.
It was a sad period, not so much because of the lack of income of commercial activities; Thailand had given me so much so I was willing to reciprocate with a bit of sacrifice in the name of a better democracy. But as the days passed, between promises of the removal of the barriers followed by denials to do so, a frustrating situation of stalemate was developed, in which in the state of total impotence, I started to form serious doubts about the choice of Thailand as the country in which to spend the second half of my working life. In those circumstances, I was no longer sure that I was making the right judgement, and I started to think of going to other countries. All the same, having lived almost two decades in this, in spite of everything, marvellous country, the option of starting everything again in another place did not attract me in the least.
Those two months, the restaurant stayed open during the week to give service to the residents of what had already turned into the ‘Red Zone’, to those who dared to venture out of their homes and to those few who audaciously went back to their offices.
It was good exercise of business economy to cancel the products ordered that regularly arrive from Europe and to try not to waste those already in the refrigerator and in the stockrooms by inventing alternative meals. The personnel were given holiday till New Years Day, then we invented different maintenance jobs, amongst which was the painting of the kitchen and the stockrooms.
In the afternoons, when I walked around in the centre, I was under the impression that the majority of the demonstrators did not have a notion of why they were there; they were mainly simple people, recruited in the countryside that was still too dry for sowing rice. I bumped into men and women, equipped with towels and soap, looking for some unlikely current of water for washing themselves. Day and night, the centre of Bangkok was held hostage by the deafening choruses of the shift leaders, who, on top of enormous speakers, made the atmosphere quite sinister.
At night, I stayed alone at home, my family had lengthened its holiday in Italy and with the curfew that started at 8:00 pm, I spent the nights on the internet keeping friends and relatives calm.
After two months of the exhausting and frustrating lulls in the negotiations between the government and the demonstrators, the army finally started to recover the heart of the metropolis and the retreat of the protesters left behind a wake of useless devastation and indelible injuries.
During those two months of turmoil, the solidarity between restaurateurs and owners of commercial activities located within the area invaded by the demonstrators was great; and often a thought was passionately stated amongst us: to start again with even more decisiveness and determination, to roll up our sleeves to always raise the quality of our activities and to work with dedication and passion to elevate even more the culinary fame of our great city.
Thanking you for the recognition received, I wish you good work.
Gianni Favro, Bangkok
Gianni Favro, GVCI Chef of the year 2010
Gianni Favro, chef and owner of “Gianni´s” restaurant in Bangkok is the GVCI chef of the year. Mario Caramella, GVCI President, have announced it, saying that the award (a symbolic silver pan offered by Piazza) goes to a chef who came successfully out a very difficult professional situation. In the past year the award went to Vincenzo Perez (at that time in Lebanon), Alex Colombis (Cambodia), Emanuele Lattanzi (caught in a terroristic attack to the hotel in which he was working in Mumbai) and Gianfelice Guerini (Ferrari F1 team chef). Gianni, who tells of his experience in a letter, found himself and his businesses in the middle of the revolt that took place in the Thai capital in the last months of April and May. “The area where Gianni’s restaurant is was invaded by the insurgents, the restaurant had to close and they burned some of the outlets of another food business he owns”, said Mario Caramella. Gianni, a dynamic and prepared chef entrepreneur, great connoisseur of Italian wines, resisted and finally overtook the difficulties. He still lives and works inThailand, the land in which he has been in the last 20 years. The award is dedicated to the memory of the late Antonio Amato, a chef associated to GVCI, killed by terrorists in Saudi Arabia in 2003.
Luca´s Late Night Wine Tasting
One of the highlights of our Italian Cuisine World Summit will take place on November 5, 2010 (22:30 hrs.) at H-One Restaurant. Executive Chef Luca Signoretti (see profile) will be the host of this wonderful event. Booking and information.
The Pasta Book
Food author Julia Della Croce presents her new work “The Pasta Book” edited by Williams-Sonoma. In her 13th book so far, she presents a variety of traditional Italian recipes that focus mainly on rustic, home cooking and the use of seasonal ingredients.
PRELIMINARY APPEARANCES AND BOOK SIGNINGS for “ITALIAN HOME COOKING” book:
- Nov 4 from 6-8 pm, short talk, demo, tasting, book signing, Tyler Florence Shop, Mill Valley, CA
- Nov 5 from 6-7 pm, short talk and book signing, Omnivore Books, San Francisco, CA
- Nov 16 from 12:30-1:30 pm, cooking demonstration, Better TV, Nationally Syndicated Show, CT
- Nov 20 from 3-5 pm, joint book signing with author Joan Gussow, Village Book Store, Pleasantville, NY--open to the public
- Nov 27 demo, 3-4 pm, Cooking with Marilyn Harris radio show, Cincinnati, OH
- Nov 30, 7-9 pm, book launch party, DiPalo Fine Foods, 200 Grand St, NY, NY RSVP Ron Longe,
- Dec 3, Chicago Gourmet dinner event, Pensiero, Evanston, IL
- Dec 4, all-day, Chopping Block, Chicago, Il, demos, 55,000 attendees
- Dec 11, DiPalo Fine Foods, 200 Grand St., NY, NY, short talk and book signing--open to the public
- Dec 13, 6-9 pm, Kings Cooking Studio, Short Hills, NJ, cooking class--contact: Cherry Huntoon, (973) 258-4009,
ITALIAN WINES: 2010 A VERY GOOD VINTAGE
2010 harvest has started in Italy with a great forecast: it will be a very good year for quality and quantity with a production increase estimated of 2.5% (+4.3% in the North and +0.3% in the South). The estimates come from the Confagricoltura´s (Italian Confederation of Farmers) “Wine Observatory” that monitors 700 of the most prestigious Italian wine companies. The total production is estimated in 46.5 million hectolitres, which is within the average values of the last ten years.
The regions expecting the highest increase in quantity are Piedmont (+10%) and Umbria (+15%). Excellent vintage for the wines of Trentino Alto Adige (quantity remains the same), Emilia Romagna (+2.14% in quantity) good to excellent in Tuscany (+0.2% volume), Lombardy (+2.5%) and Friuli Venezia Giulia (+5%). Good to excellent vintages in southern Italy: Puglia (+3.5%); Sicily (less 2.75%). In Sardinia good, but with a sharp drop in production (-10%), good vintages in Campania and Calabria (+13% for each region).
Vintages in Italy (estimates from Confagricoltura)
Thousands of hectoliters
EATALY NEW YORK: “IT IS NOT JUST A MARKET, BUT A FOOD EXPERIENCE”
"Food is more sacred than commerce." With these words Mario Batali, the Italian- American celebrity chef introduced Eataly New York, the huge imported Italian Food hall (50.000 square feet). Eataly is a concept developed by the ebullient entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti with the blessing of Slow Food. The first one was opened and is still developing in Torino, Italy. Its Big Apple version required an investment of US 25 millions and has partners that include Batali, Joe Bastianich and his mother, TV celebrity chef Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.
Eataly is combination of fancy Italian grocery stores with individual retail departments offering the best and the most typical of Italian made food and wine products: pastry by Luca Montersino, bread, a butcher, a fishmonger (David Pasternack), pasta, cured meats, cheese, hand-made mozzarella (Il Laboratorio), some of which are directly connected to their own sit-down restaurants with waiter service.
There´s also a gelato shop, a coffee bar, and places selling panini and pizza (from the Napoli originated franchising Rossopomodoro), a wine store (and soon a rooftop beer garden – la Birreria), a bookstore and a warehouse showroom. Lidia Bastianich has her cooking school (La Scuola) as well.
QUALITY PDO POTATO HAS ITS FESTIVAL IN BOLOGNA
The 2010 edition of PATATA in BO will be launched in Bologna, the capital city of the Emilia Romagna Region, with a Gala Dinner held on 21st September. PATATA in BO is an event dedicated to the potato: a typically poor yet essential ingredient with a wide variety of uses. The queen of the event is the variety native from Bologna, recently declared a Protected Denomination of Origin (the only potato in Europe), and Patata in Bo promotes its consumption and the surrounding territory.
Today the potato is a key element of the agriculture of the region Emilia Romagna and the high quality of the product makes Bologna a point of reference for all of Italy. During the week of September 21-27, the potato will be featured on the menus of the best restaurants in the city and province, with an entertainment program based on food and wine culture and with conferences and debates for the potato industry operators.
XIII COUS COUS FEST IN SAN VITO LO CAPO
The 13th Cous Cous festival of San Vito Lo Capo will be held from 21st to 26th September. It’s presented as a celebration of integration, a festival of peoples, traditions, cultures, sounds and emotions. Eight countries (Ivory Coast, France, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Palestine, Senegal and Tunisia) gather around a dish of couscous to inspire exchange, enhance the differences and celebrate the harmony of a ‘colourful world’ – a rainbow of cultures.
Cous Cous is an ingredient of Sicilian Cuisine that has been used, at least, since mid XVI century in Italian southern regions. During the Festival that will take place in the beautiful marine city of San Vito Lo Capo (Sicilian province of Trapani) nine chefs from the mentioned countries with a multitude of cous cous dishes will compete in the already traditional international competition. They will be evaluated by two panels of judges: the expert judges, food and wine journalists, and the People’s Panel, a hundred festival visitors who will vote for their favourite dish.
LONG EXPECTED BAROLO MUSEUM OPENS ITS DOORS
The long expected Barolo wine museum is a reality at last. Located in the Falletti Castle in Barolo, it’s the first museum in the world dedicated to this great wine. The 15th century Castello Faletti, only a 5 minute walk away from Torre Barolo, has undergone a complete transformation and expansion to host the collection. Alessandro Antonelli was the architect in charge of the renovations and he´s famous for designing the Film museum in Torino. Not too long ago, the Castle had an enoteca with a huge selection of vintage Barolo bottles. The new museum is more a wine amusement park than a traditional museum.
Donato De Santis´ new book: Italian cooks go to Paradise
Cucina Paradiso is the title of the book recently published by Donato de Santis (Cucina Paradiso, 280 pages, Editorial Planeta, in Spanish), the Buenos Aires based Italian chef who is a TV celebrity in Latin America. Donato is a Senior Member of the network itchefs-GVCI and has worked in many prestigious restaurants in Italy and abroad (mainly in the USA). In 1984, when he was only 20, he was the better paid Italian chef abroad (at Valentino’s restaurant, In Santa Monica). He was also the personal chef of the late Gianni Versace.
In this book, this Milan born chef (from parents who migrated there from the Puglia region), shows what´s the real essence of an Italian chef, what makes him different from other chefs: the Italian chef is different because he carries a heritage that goes well beyond a simple ability at the stoves. Cucina Paradiso (which is not just a collection of recipes, but it’s full of stories, pictures, anecdotes and tips) proves that being a true Italian chefs is a choice of life, a dimension of the spirit rather than just a profession.
Donato’s philosophy is very much based on the basic tenets of all the associates to the itchefs-GVCI network: “From a gastronomic point of view, Italy is a federal country”, as Donato himself writes in the book in which he reasserts his indissoluble bond with pasta and quality olive oil. He also adds: “Italy is a generous country, a violent and romantic bombardment, a passionate relationship, which describes a bit what are we Italians made of”. And moreover what are many Italian chefs, as Donato, are made of. With a perfect timing Donato opened also a new deli and culinary workshop in an elegant area of the Argentine capital. The name? Cucina Paradiso, of course.
Gaetano Ascione, the chef who manages Miami’s “Powerhouse Place”
Chef and restaurateur Gaetano Ascione, a long time associate to the itchefs-GVCI network, is very proud of his last achievement. His Gaetano’s Ristorante in Coral Gables – Miami has just been voted by the readers of the Miami New Time as "The Best of Miami - The Power House Place”. The motivation reads: “At Gaetano´s all the makers and shakers come together to discuss strategies, politics, economics etc as well as to have some of the Best Food of this side of the ocean”. The restaurant is located inside the Hotel St. Michel (where it has replaced the Restaurant St. Michel).
Chef Gaetano, a native of Naples, serves outstanding and honest, fresh and simple Italian cuisine prepared with the best and freshest ingredients the country exports, served alongside a hand picked collection of regional Italian Wines. Media reviewers stress that “Gaetano's Ristorante is not just a restaurant but a destination where their customers can travel in search of the pleasure of great food, conviviality, pure and sincere”. Gaetano's Ristorante's passion and love guided the compilation of their Wine list that has wines from the greatest vineyards and producers in Italy. They are certain that among the pages of Gaetano's wine list, you will find, as they have, a wine to fall in love with.
“Knowledge of Italian Cuisine is indispensable to any contemporary chef”
Starting next September 1st, the Mexican IVAC (Veracruz´s Institute of High Cuisine) will offer a course on Italian Cuisine: “2000 years of gastronomic history”. It will be taught by Silvia Bernardini: chef, restaurateur, historian and a member of the itchefs-gvci network. The aim of the course is to introduce students to the main aspects of Italian Cuisine which is extremely popular in Mexico for being very healthy, among other reasons. “The knowledge of the authentic tenets of the Italian Cuisine is among the indispensable tools needed by any contemporary eager cook or professional chef”, says Silvia Bernardini who owns the restaurant L’Incontro in Veracruz and hosts a gastronomic program in a local radio station.
Wine list on iPad: La Credenza is the First Restaurant in Italy
La Credenza, the Michelin starred restaurant in San Maurizio Canavese (Turin) is the first Italian restaurant to have its wine list on iPad. The restaurant, owned by the chefs Giovanni Grasso (in photo left) e Igor Macchia, both members of the itchefs-GVCI network, has developed a versatile application allowing clients to choose their wines on the basis of many options: the price, the geographic provenience, the grape variety, etc. Actually, the client can even access the website of the winery that produces the label he/she is about to select or other related sites (La credenza has wi-fi connection in all its rooms). Of course, a sommelier is always available to integrate the information given by the iPad.
The application, which works for any restaurant, will be available starting next October (both in English and Italian). Nowadays, very few restaurants around the world have their wine lists on iPad but specialists foresee that many will take advantage of this tool, particularly Italian restaurants abroad. It will be a way to assist customers in the better understanding of the immense but well organized offer of Italian wines.
CIRA (Sydney): more than cappuccino, pizza and pasta
Sydney based CIRA, the Council of Italian Restaurants in Australia, is an example of a clear commitment towards correct education in Italian Cuisine. The Council’s aim is to protect the traditions and integrity of Italian cooking by providing advice to members of the association on writing menus, selecting produce and wine; and ensuring Italian chefs, as well as the Italian food lovers, are properly schooled in the true basics. It’s within this context that CIRA is currently hosting an interesting calendar of classes at its Cooking School, in Casa Barilla’s world-class cooking facility (Annandale). Some of the best Italian chefs in town will teach at the classes, including Mario Percuoco, Lucio Galletto (Lucio’s), Nino Zoccali (Pendolino), Danny Russo, Gabriele Taddeucci (Uccello). “We are happy to be passing on our knowledge and sharing our passion with the Australian public so they can appreciate the intricacy and beauty of Italian cuisine”, says Lucio Galletto, CIRA’s President. The Council is committed to educating Australians about the huge variety of Italian cuisine on offer in many of Sydney’s great Italian restaurants. “More than cappuccino, pizza and pasta; regional Italian cuisine is so varied, and so exciting to learn about. And what better way than by joining classes hosted by some of the best practicing Italian-Australians chefs who really know how to showcase their region,” Galletto said.
CIRA was formed almost ten years by a group of Italian chefs and restaurateurs, including Armando Percuoco (Buon Ricordo), Lucio Galletto (Lucio's), Danny Russo, Vanessa Martin, Massimo Bianchi and Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freschwater).
ORNELLA WILL LEAD ITALIAN CHEFS AT THE COLUMBUS DAY PARADE
Ornella Fado the brilliant creator and broadcaster of Brindiamo!, the only TV show that showcases the finest and most authentic Italian restaurants in the U.S., is organizing an important initiative for the Columbus Day Parade this October 11. She’s promoting a Brindiamo! float in which for the first time, the “protagonisti” are the Italian Chefs, “I´ve always believed that Italian restaurants have been a major work force in America, particularly in New York City, and not just for the Italian community”, says Ornella who adds “So Chefs should be out there celebrating this day about immigration, hard work, and success”. Moved by the respect that she feels for each Italian chef and for their hard work, she wants to toast to them all and invite them to be on her float on the fun, festive event that is the Columbus Day Parade.
Ornella, in collaboration with IFSE, a cooking school based in Piobesi Torinese, is also promoting the First edition of “The Brindiamo! Scholarship”, which is a great opportunity to travel to one of the, historically and culturally, richest regions in Italy: Piedmont, to learn cooking skills. Only three talented individuals will be selected to win the Brindiamo! Scholarship, although regular courses are open to everyone who loves italian food and culture.
Massimo Falsini: Chef of the winning Formula Ferrari
Massimo Falsini has a very challenging job: he´s Executive Chef of Formula Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s first Ferrari theme park and the largest attraction of its kind, which will open next October 28. The Park will have hyper technological, multisensory attractions, built to attract fans, families and racing fanatics who will experience “the race”, the culture, the indulgence and the history.
Massimo, an itchefs-gvci long-time member, is responsible for the 6 food and beverage outlets that include an organic kitchen, a fine “high end” cafè and a Pizzeria making TSP authentic Neapolitan Pizza. “Our aim is to propose a F&B program of very high quality, literally to revolutionize the theme park industry”, says chef Falsini, who leads a team of 106 chefs (most of them with experience in Michelin starred restaurants) and 25 stewards.
The highlights of the program remain secret at the moment but Massimo says that, together with his F&B Vice President, they are working on the reinterpretation of street-food. “To go back to the origins, where each component of the dish had something to say”. Formula Rossa (blast away on the fastest rollercoaster on the planet strapped into the F1 cockpit) and Bell’Italia (a leisurely drive in a small-scale Ferrari 250 California, circa 1957, thru the best of Italia’s cityscapes, landmarks and racing venues) are the main attractions for the visitors that are expected at the Formula Ferrari World.
ARNAD (VALLE D´AOSTA): A UNIQUE FEAST OF GOURMET LARD AND COLD CUTS
From August 26 to 30, lard will be the king of a festival in Arnad, a small town in the lower Valle d'Aosta. The lard of this area is the only one of European protected designation of origin (PDO).
It was, until recently, considered useful only for seasoning, but its status has been elevated with the local gastronomic event, the ‘Lard Festival’, so that it now enjoys a nationwide reputation. Nowadays, it has its rightful place on the table as a delicious antipasto.
One special feature of Arnad lard concerns how the pigs are fed, since this does not involve using integrated fodder, it, thus, necessarily involves feed like chestnuts and vegetables. It is then seasoned, using locally found flavourings such as garlic, salt, rosemary, bay leaves and brine, and kept in a handmade chestnut wood container known as a ‘doil’.
During the Festival, on Saturday 29 August, there will be a special Italian P.D.O and P.G.I cold meat exhibition and tasting and visitors will be able to taste all the best Italian delicatessen products in the typical wooden huts that have always characterised the ‘Lard Festival’ event. Here is the list of the cold cuts present at the tasting:
2 Valle D’aosta Lardo di Arnad DOP
3 Valle D’aosta Jambon de Bosses DOP
4 Mortadella Bologna IGP
5 Prosciutto di Parma DOP
6 Bresaola della Valtellina IGP
7 Soprèssa Vicentina DOP -
Prosciutto Veneto Berico-Euganeo DOP
8 Soppressata di Calabria DOP
Capocollo di Calabria DOP
Salsiccia di Calabria DOP
Pancetta di Calabria DOP
9 Salamini Italiani alla Cacciatora DOP
10 Zampone Modena IGP
Cotechino Modena IGP
11 Prosciutto di Modena DOP
12 Salame Piacentino DOP
Coppa Piacentina DOP
Pancetta Piacentina DOP
13 Culatello di Zibello DOP
14 Salame Cremona IGP
15 Salame di Varzi DOP
16 Prosciutto Toscano DOP
17 Prosciutto di Carpegna DOP
Prosciutto di Norcia IGP
18 Lardo di Colonnata IGP
Salame S. Angelo IGP
19 Coppa di Parma IGP (*)
Salame Felino IGP (*)
20 Crudo di Cuneo DOP (*)
Salame Piemonte DOP (*)
21 Speck dell'alto Adige IGP
Prosciutto Di Sauris IGP (*)
22 Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP
23 Salame d'oca di Mortara IGP
Salame Brianza DOP
BRUNO BARBIERI, FROM ITALY TO RIO DE JANEIRO, WITH EXCITEMENT
Bruno Barbieri, the former chef of the Relais L’Arquade (San Pietro in Cariano – Verona), who controversially left Italy in search of better professional opportunities, has disembarked in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He will open a new restaurant in the Carioca city next November. As anticipated by the Gambero Rosso website, Barbieri will run an open space, with creative cuisine, “but not extreme”. Barbieri, who has never worked abroad before, talks already as a veteran of Italian Cuisine outside Italy, and offers himself as a candidate to represent the best of Italian productions. He is finding the Brazilian reality very exciting.
"RICOTTA DI BUFALA CAMPANIA" IS A PROTECTED DENOMINATION (PDO)
‘Ricotta di bufala campania’, (‘Buffalo Ricotta from Campania’) has been listed with the European Designation Commission DOP in the official register of protected designation of origin. Italy can boast of as many as 210 DOP and IGP products. The peculiarities of ‘Ricotta di bufala Campania’ are strictly determined by the qualities of the prime materials which, only if and when produced within the defined area, will certainly be of superior characteristics to those obtained in other areas: buttermilk, fresh buttermilk cream and milk from buffalos. The production area of ‘Ricotta di bufala Campania’ DOP consists of most of the administrative area of the Regions of Campania, Lazio, Puglia and Molise. More precisely it is composed of the basin around the Rivers Garigliano and Volturno and between the River Sele Plane and the zone of Cilento, in the coastal area as also along the valleys in Campania; centred between the River Amaseno Valley and the nearby Pontina Plana in Lazio; the plane and the hilly face of the Province of Foggia at the foot of the promonory of the Gargano in Puglia and only the township of Venafro is interesting in Molise; it yields little and it is under the management of the Region of Molise.
A Sicilian Food Temple of the past among Sellerio´s Great Pictures
Munich:: The famous L’Ingrasciata, a legendary Trattoria in Palermo of the 1950’s, is among the 25 stunning pictures of the Sicilian capital taken by photographer Enzo Sellerio that are being exhibited from June 10 in the Biedermann Gallery in Munich (Germany). Enzo Sellerio was among the most famous neo-realist photographers of his time, and food and the life at the table, were often the subjects of his pictures as in the case of L’Ingrasciata (The fattened) which used to be temple of the typical and traditional food in Palermo.The tile of the exhibition is “Enzo Sellerio – Fotografie 1950 -1960”.
“Pasquale” Makishima triumphs at the International Championship of Pizzaiolo
The Japanese Akinari "Pasquale" Makishima was elected the miglior pizzaiolo (best pizza maker) of the 9th International Championship of Pizzaiuolo Naples-Caputo Trophy. Akinari, who has added ‘Pasquale’ to his name in honour of his maestro pizzaiolo, Pasquale Parziale of the Pizzeria Parziale on Corso Umberto, Naples, subjected himself to a competition lasting two days between 150 pizzaioli gathered together for the occasion of the ‘Vulcano Buono’ (‘Good Volcano’) of Nola near Naples. Second place went to the Neapolitan Vincenzo Caciali and third was won by Vincenzo Sandrico.
At the 8th International Championship, in 2009, Akinari already won third place and was nominated the Ambasciatore dei Pizzaioli Napoletani (Ambassador of Neapolitan Pizzaioli) to Japan. This year among those receiving the ‘title’ Ambasciatore della pizza napoletana nel mondo (Worldwide Ambassador of the Neapolitan Pizza) is Fabian Martin, an eccentric Spanish pizzaiolo from Livia, Gerona who, for the occasion of the Championship invented micro pizze-gelato, with mozzarella, parmigiano and gelato di pomodoro (yes, tomato ice-cream!).
For the organizers, presided by Sergio Miccù, who is responsible for the Associazione Pizzaioli Napoletani(Association of Neapolitan Pizzaioli), this Pizza Festival was “a true success in the number and quality of the participants.” From the Japanese delegation 20 pizzaioliarrived in Naples, along with seven French, five Spanish and ten American pizzaioli, among who was the many-time champion, Tony Gemignani.
“Ours is the only Italian championship that awards the pizzaiolo and not just the pizza – declared Carmine Caputo – because the difference is to be found in the skills of the person working beside the oven.” The webpage OAS_RICH('Middle'); Pizza Napoletana Stg is dedicated to and states all the positive traits and the stories that make this tradition, this craft, our pizzaioli’s hands that guarantee gastronomic excellence to the world.
S.T.G. (Traditional Specialty Guaranteed)
1st Akinari "Pasquale" Makishima (Japan)
2nd Cacialli Vincenzo
3rd Sandrico Vincenzo
1st Albachiara Attilio ex aequo Fabian Martin (Spain)
2nd Izzo Stefania
3rd D'Erasmo Marcello
Pizza for celiacs
1st Schettino Cecilia
2nd Montoli Egidio
3rd Schettino Annapia Cravero
1st Salvo Umberto
1st Acrobatic- free style singular Marisa Camonita (34 vaults)
1st Pizza speed Sergio Donaro (40.03 seconds)
1st Longest pizza Michele Maresca
Pizza by length
1st Giorgio Riggio
2nd Fiorello Angelo
3rd La Marca Alberto
Ambasciatori della Pizza Napoletana nel Mondo
Tony Gimignani (U.S.A.)
Fabian Martin (Spain)
Akinari "Pasquale" Makishima (Japan)
Senator of Pizza Napoletana
Prizes in memory of the maestri pizzaioli Ernesto Cacialli, Esterina Sorbillo, Ciccillo Raggio
The Restaurants with the Best View of the Italian Summer
Massimo Bernardi, the smart Italian oenogastronomic reporter, author and curator of the Dissapore website, celebrated the beginning of the summer in Italy by naming the eight restaurants with the best view in Italy – according to him –. The good thing about this is that in these restaurants with great views – in difference to many others –, you also eat very well.
Via Roncato, 60, Massa Lubrense, Province of Naples, Tel 081 8789552
This hotel, of minimal decoration, Mediterranean pines, Christoph Bob’s, the chef that is, Mediterranean cuisine and the splendid view out over Naples (1), Nisida (2), Procida (3) Ischia (4), Capri (5), and, on clear days, Ventotene (6), together offer the most moving ‘restaurant with a view’ in Italy. Average price €80/90.
Village of Sbarcatello, Porto Ercole, Province of Grosseto, Tel. 0564 858111
A building nestled in the slopes of Mount Aegentario, seemingly more by divine will than by the hand of man; absolutely unique in Italy. Average price €90/100.
Piazza Trinità dei Monti, 6, Rome, Tel. 06 69934726
Rome as you’ve never seen it, not even from the terrace of the pergola of the hotel Cavalieri. Average price €90/100.
Via Narciso, 59, Polignano a Mare, Province of Bari, Tel. 080 4240677
The hotel is in the centre of the village, and nevertheless, the sea is seen everywhere, below you, beside you, everywhere! The sea has carved out the enchanting natural grotto in which you dine. Average price €90.
5. Rossellinis of the Hotel Palazzo Sasso
Via San Giovanni del Toro 28, Ravello, Province of Salerno, Amalfi Coast, Tel. 089 818181
There is no corner of the Palazzo Sasso, one of the most elegant hotels of the Amalfi Coast, in which the sea doesn´t give views of dazzling beauty. The two Michelin stars presented to Rossellinis, the hotel restaurant, are a slight touch of generosity, but it’s difficult for the cuisine of the chef, Pino Lavarra, to be disappointing. However, the price is a shame. Average price €120.
Via Filippo Turati, 87, village of Mergozzo, Verbania, Stresa, Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Tel. 0323 586792
Beautifully isolated, on the edge opposite the delightful village of Mergozzo, the new veranda of the Piccolo Lago guarantees the longest of sunsets disturbed only by the crawl of the little ducks that await the wave. How relaxing! A two-Michelin-star-awarded cuisine completes the picture. Average price €80.
Via D. Taiani, 48, Maiori, Province of Salerno, Tel. 089 877022
Here, facing Capri, with the isle of ‘Li Galli’ in front of you, is some of the region’s finest cuisine, that of Pierfranco Ferrara. It’s a unique attempt to pair off haute cuisine and inexpensive local fish, and what a success! Average price €110/120.
Village of Ronco, 123, Cortina, Province of Belluno, Tel 043 63339
A room at the Toulà of Cortina is the possibility of living a myth. It also helps to look at the blue horizon interrupted by the Dolomite Alps while eating genuine dishes. Average price €90.
[Images: Flickr/Thilos, Flickr/WallyWorld2006, Flickr/Paris Helena, Flickr/Dainee, Viaggiatore Gourmet]
PROSCIUTTO, PANCETTA AND MORTADELLA CONQUEST THE WORLD
Italian deli meats triumph on tables around the world: during the darkest economic year since 1929, exports of ham, bacon and mortadella increased by 3.6% in quantity and 3.3% in value. 110,000 tons of products were exported, and brought Italy a turnover of 860 million euros, says ASSICA, the Association of Meat Industries. The most popular exported meats in 2009 were cured ham (+2.1%), cooked ham (+2.6%), bacon (+6.1), mortadella (+11.3%) and bresaola (+12.3).
“Export is a primary goal,” said President Francesco Pizzagalli, “and the positive numbers in 2009 are the result of a strategy ASSICA put in place to confirm our deli meats in the world. We recently obtained an extension of the range of meats so that virtually all of them can now be exported to Canada and South Africa. Negotiations are in progress also with India, Thailand and Taiwan. The excellent positive trend of our exports confirms that one of our strong points of our products, their quality and inimitability, which allow us to succeed on world markets where there are opportunities for growth and profitability. In this tough year, this result was also due to the ability of Italian deli meats to remain competitive on other markets”.
MARSALA WINE THE SYMBOL OF THE UNIFICATION OF ITALY
Let’s make Marsala the symbol of the unification of Italy. This is the request of the highest of state officials, of the Paladins of the Wines of Sicily, the Voluntary Association of Tutelage and Promotion of our House’s most Famous Wine in the World for the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy to be celebrated this year. In 1860, the One Thousand soldiers in red shirts led by Guiseppe Garibalbi, who led the process of the unification of Italy, disembarked in Marsala. Marsala was already then a wine town par excellence; in fact, almost a century earlier, its wine had been discovered and then enhanced by the Englishman, John Woodhouse and then by the Ingham-Whitakers and the Florios. History recalls that the landing of the One Thousand was favoured by the presence of the British ships and by those for wine transportation in the Port of Marsala. Garibaldi, himself, having returned to Marsala, named a type of Marsala that he particularly liked: Garibaldi Dolce. And the 99 ships of the Florio Company carried Marsala everywhere around the world, thus bolstering the competitive strength of the English commercial fleet.
FOOD AND WINE CONSUMPTION IN ITALY: THE LATEST TRENDS
There have been some enormous changes in the Italian diet from the post-war period till today; the consumption of meat has increased 300%, the consumption of bread and pasta has diminished and that of fruit and vegetables increased. On an average, the daily consumption of kilocalories have increased by 56% (2.281 in 1950, 3.685 today), while in the same period, food expenses have decreased from 45 to 15% of average earnings opure the average household budget. Notable is also the fall of the amount of wine consumed per capita per annum; in the ‘50s more than more than 100 litres, today no more than 28 litres, but in compensation, the tendency is now towards higher quality.
These are some of the results of the recent polling, Rapporto Censis Coldiretti, reporting about the consumption of Italian agricultural food products. Coldiretti is an association which unites an important amount of the Italian farmers. Furthermore, mid morning and afternoon snacks have been given up by two out of three Italians who are generally young, female, single and residents of the South and the islands, Sicily and Sardinia for example, who prefer a bun, crackers, a roll or yogurt. Lunches are little different from dinners, both almost always consisting of pasta among other things, in fact 2.1 million Italians eat it twice a day.
“From this report – said Giuseppe De Rita, the president of Censis – emerges a cautious, even if individualist, consumer. Unquestionably, with respect to the past, we’ve taken many steps forward.” The fact that the Italian consumer loves more and more kebab or enjoys eating ethnic food, to the detriment of Italian products, doesn’t worry the experts. What’s most important is that the safety of the foodstuffs, even more so than the prima materia. It’s good that it comes from abroad, just as we suppose that an Italian restaurant in London uses products made in Italy.
Appeal to the President of the Republic to declare Marsala that product that symbolizes the Unity of Italy. The proposal of the Association of the Paladins of the Wines of Sicily.
TERROIR VINO 2010, GENOVA: WHERE WINE, PEOPLE AND THE WEB MEET
Terroir Vino, a smart wine and food exhibition format, will be held in Genova next June 7, in the Magazzini del Cotone. It presents to the trade press, professionals and aficionados, a top selection of winemakers and wines resulting from the choices made by the panel of tasters of the wine magazine TigullioVino.it. The show rewards those that, beyond their high quality level and excellent quality-price ratio, have also managed to impart a strong emotion and the respect of their grape varieties or their terroir.
TigullioVino.it, created in April 2000, has become a reliable reference for wine and food information on the Web in Italy. This publication presents not only "trendy wines" or "top flight wines", but rather wines that deserve attention for their quality, originality and ease of drinking.
After the success of the previous editions, the meeting point has been moved to the Magazzini del Cotone, one of the most well served congress areas in town. Terroir Vino was born out of the need to stimulate communication and feedback between winemakers, professionals, consumers and independent media (mostly on line media); the name "Terroir Vino" responds to an effort to bring about a common ground for dialogue and exchanges between viticultural areas.
FALLING EURO: GOOD NEWS FOR ITALIAN CUISINE ABROAD
The European Currency (Euro) keeps losing ground to the US dollar and many other international currencies. What for some may sound as bad news is instead wonderful news for the worldwide industry that´s based on quality Italian cuisine, wine and beverages. Import of Italian products in many countries around the world has suddenly become more convenient than it was a few weeks ago. Coldiretti, the Italian association of agricultural producers said that, as a consequence of this new situation, the export of Italian wine towards the US had a 6% increase. Even more encouraging are the perspectives in other markets, more specifically in Asia (starting with Japan, China, Korea and Thailand), in the Middle East and in Brazil. In the next few months, it will likely be remarkably more convenient to open or manage a quality Italian Restaurant in any of these countries. The only exception is Argentina where the Government, as soon as it foresaw that foreign quality ingredients would be less expensive for the weak Euro, forbade the import of quality ingredients. The prohibition is officially presented as a way to protect the national industry although the imported goods represent only a mere 3% of the national food offer.
PARMA CIBUS IS BACK
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.
IN MEMORY OF A GREAT ITALIAN CHEF ABROAD: 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.
“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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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, 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.
REUTERS´ FALSE NEWS: “THE FRENCH MAKE THE BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD”
“The French, not the Italians, are the world’s best pizza makers.” Bruno Soleri, the executive chef at Florentia Ristorante in Toronto, Canada, couldn’t believe what he was hearing. That was last April 2 and it was accompanied by a video titled “France declared best pizza maker.”
It had just been put on line by Reuters, the prestigious English news agency. He sent the link to www.itchefs-gvci.com with this comment: “I am no kind of ultranationalist who is convinced that whatever we Italians do is the best in the world, but this piece of news really annoyed me”. Bruno has worked in acclaimed restaurants such as Gualtiero Marchesi and Claudio Sadler in Italy, Chez Panisse in California and Canoe in Toronto. According the Reuters video, the organizers of Paris Pizza and Pasta Expo, celebrated last March 30 and 31, had crowned a French pizzaiolo, as the best in the world, after a competition among 200 pizza makers coming from all over the world. “Sometimes our French cousins, who certainly have some of the greatest culinary traditions in the world, go a bit over the top with their pride”, adds Soleri, who makes pizza as well (“it’s a joy”), having learnt the art from a Neapolitan pizzaiolo, and still believes that the Italians have some kind of world leadership in authentic pizza making.
“In pizza competitions, juries cannot always be trusted”, says Pasqualino Barbasso, Sicilian chef and GVCI associate, known around the world as the “acrobatic” pizzaiolo. So, what really happened in Paris? Was the competition fixed? No, nothing like that. The news that the French make the best pizza in the world is simply not true. Reuters invented it. The competition at Paris Pizza and Pasta Expo was just among French pizza makers, called France Pizza Tour. Perhaps it looked too boring to Jon Dereck, the Reuters journalists who covered the event and manipulated reality. Furthermore: there was no competition between French and Italians whatsoever, the Expo is marketed as the Salon de la Restauration Italienne (Italian Restaurants Fair), it’s a celebration of Italian Cuisine in France. So the French are not the best pizza makers in the world but they are generally very serious and competent about their pizza: they consume huge quantities of it (only in the U.S. is its consumption higher), they call the pizza maker a ‘pizzaiolo’, exactly as in Italy, and favour pizza made with Italian techniques and ingredients.
"FOOD & ART WEEK" AT IL TEATRO DOHA
Four Seasons Hotel Doha is celebrating its fifth anniversary by introducing "Food & Art Week at Il Teatro", an exhibition that displays the art collection of famous Italian Artist Fabrizio Trabucco who interpreted in the culinary creations of two Italian Star Chefs: Michelin Star Chef Matteo Vigotti and Il Teatro Italian Chef Mauro Bellodi, a GVCI associate.
Doha is Capital of Arab Culture 2010 and Four Seasons Hotel Doha makes its contribution to this event hosting
Fabrizio Trabucco's exhibition that displays the cultural exchange between Italy and Qatar, between modern, contemporary art and haute cuisine.
LINO SAURO’S GATTOPARDO OPENS IN SINGAPORE
Gattopardo, the last joint venture of the Garibaldi Group of Restaurants, and the Sicilian Chef Lino Sauro, has opened in Singapore. It´s an Italian pizza bar that features food from southern Italy and has a range of style and taste from zesty to delicate.
The new eatery, that belongs to the Group founded by the Chef Roberto Galetti, serves elegant dishes such as roasted fish with a sprinkle of wild mint and grilled fresh prawns in lemon leaves presented in a charming terracotta pot – reflective of how Italians from the South appreciate the purity and texture of their food.
Nestled within the lush foliage of the Fort Canning Park, Gattopardo is a must-dine for all lovers of fine Italian cuisine. Gattopardo, tiger-cat in English, is the title of one of the most important Italian novels of the 20th century, authored by the Sicilian writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and published in 1958.
VITIGNO ITALIA IN NAPLES (16-18 MAY)
The sixth edition of Vitigno Italia, a fair dedicated to wines made with autochthonous grape varieties, will be held in Naples from 16 to 18 May. As wine writer Tom Hyland pointed out: “while you won’t find any examples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Chardonnay here, you will be able to taste some glorious wines made from Greco, Fiano, Aglianico, Nero d’Avola and hundreds of other local varieties”. Starting last year, Vitigno Italia is held in the historic Castel dell’Ovo, on the shores of the Gulf of Napoli, to stress the historic importance of indigenous grape varieties. Though the fair is mainly dedicated to wineries of Campania Region and other Southern areas, there are many exhibitors from other important oenological regions of Italy, including Tuscany, Piemonte and Veneto. Within Vitigno Italia, Luigi Cremona, a renowned Italian food and wine writer will host, one more time, the successful culinary festival Cooking X wine. To read more about 2009 edition of Vitigno Italia got to Tom Hyland blog.
ITALIAN CUISINE WORLD SUMMIT AND GVCI´S GENERAL MEETING
The Italian Cuisine World Summit organized by itchefs-gvci.com will be held in Hong Kong from November 2nd thru 7th. It has been announced by Rosario Scarpato, Summit Director, and chef Paolo Monti, Culinary Supervisor of the Summit, after a meeting held in Hong Kong with the chefs of the 15 Italian Restaurants involved in the event. Mario Caramella, President of GVCI (Virtual Group of Italian Chefs), has announced that, in the occasion of the World Summit a General Meeting of all GVCI members, will be held on November 3rd, to celebrate the 10 years of the foundation of GVCI Forum, that today has almost 1200 participants, working in 70 countries.
MARK LADNER (DEL POSTO NEW YORK CITY): TRUE ITALIAN COOKING
Cesare Casella, renowned Italian chef in New York City (Salumeria Rosi) and itchefs-GVCI leader in the US, tasted the newly launched second “Collezione” of dishes by Mark Ladner. Executive chef at Del Posto Restaurant in New York City, one of the establishments belonging to Mario Batali and the Bastianich family (Lidia and Joseph), Mark is among those non-Italian-born chefs who are amazing interpreters of theItalian Cuisine at a worldwide level. “The difference between Mark and most chefs cooking Italian, is that Mark investigates and is more knowledgeable than most the other chefs – whether Italian or not. Italian cooking is his passion and I think that because he is not Italian, he researches and learns about everything Italian to make sure his food is more authentic”.
Mark Ladner & Cesare Casella
Read what Cesare Casella writes here: "Last week I went to taste the second Collezione of Mark Ladner at Del Posto.
Mark has created something fantastic! Like in every respectable collection, each season brings something new and exciting. With Mark’s Collezione, it is not only the combination of food and wine that makes it fantastic – it is the food, wine and china – I love that!
Mark Ladner is a "biblioteca". The knowledge that Mark has about Italy, its food, history and culture is visible throughout the entire Collezione, down to the head of the tuna, Ginori plates and vintage implements of service. The difference between Mark and most chefs cooking Italian, is that Mark investigates and is more knowledgeable than most other chefs – whether Italian or not. Italian cooking is his passion and I think that because he is not Italian, he researches and learns about everything Italian to make sure his food is more authentic. And it is! Mark’s passion, combined with the infrastructure, brain trust and resources at Del Posto makes his new Collezione... True Italian cooking!
Ladner at work
The Collezione started with Pane Filone hot pot with Vittorio Cassini 2010 (the extra virgin olive oil). I recognized the pot that Mark brought to the table from afar as a vintage Alessi pot, designed by Marchesi. The bread (baked in the pot) came out of the oven just 2 minutes before. In front of the table he took the bread out of the pot, ripped it with his hands and put in on my plate. Then Mark came with a small bowl with dusty stuff, that he told me was frozen extra virgin olive oil. This was the first time in my life that I saw dry, extra virgin olive oil from Liguria, that was frozen! I think that he chose the olive oil from Liguria because they produce delicate oils. So on top of the hot bread he put the frozen oil. As I waited for the oil to turn BACK INTO LIQUID, I smelled all the aroma from the oil on the bread, and I ate it with my hands. There were no utensils on the table. I ate it all.
Cesare picking up the anellini (rings)
100 layers lasagna
100 layers lasagna
Polenta Friuli style
Tree di Cacao
Tangerines on ice
I started to understand the beginning of the Collezione. The plate for the bread was from Richard Ginori, plates that all the Kings in Italy have. So at this point I begun to see what the menu was about – it is not only the food, but the vintage pots, the 1880 Richard Ginori plates, Masa Italian linens, and the glasses designed especially for Del Posto.
The next course was Pinzimonio in Bagna Caoda. Bagna caoda is a traditional dish from Piemonte. But here Mark served a non-traditional type of bagna caoda with ingredients they don’t have in Piemonte like beefy jerky, pretzels, cheddar cheese and black truffles – it was very good and very interesting because still there were no utensils.
The Soft Scrambled Eggs were served on more very rare china from Richard Ginori, this time the Museo collection. The eggs had the garlic anchioves sauce from the bagna caoda, caviar and were so soft... the combination put together was fantastic. Mark spoke a lot about this dish, but I was more interested in drinking the wine to care about the perfect combination that he put on the plate. The wine was Alteni di Brassica, 2007, from one of the most prestigious Italian wine producers (Gaja).
When the Wild Black Bass in Moorish Spices arrived, it was presented on the table in another beautiful vintage oval shapped copper pot from Alessi. On top of the pot was the fried bass skin. When Mark presented this, I first thought the fried skin was the dish itself because it was so good. But instead Mark opened the pot and there was a whole bass, the length of the pot. The pot was built specifically to cook fish (it was a Pesciera). Then he took the pot back to the kitchen, and returned with the fish flaked in small pieces and served in a vintage stainless steel round bowl (by Alessi), that was shallow, light and beautiful. Inside was the bass with sweet clams and a spiced flavor. The fish was paired with a Rose from Moltepulciano d’Abruzzo.
With the Insalata Caprese with Testina di Tonno, I tasted the head of the tuna fish in an incredible way. When I closed my eyes and ate the tuna, in my mouth I felt and tasted the head of the fish, and the cheek of the fish, because the head had so much flavor and is the best part of the animal. Mark prepared and canned the tuna fish himself. The burrata tasted like it had arrived from Italy that very morning. And the tomatoes were so sweet, like candy, I ate the vine too.
This combination and the colors was amazing. Mark’s interpretation with Italian food – it is a classic example of True Italian cooking because the burrata is a product imported from Italy, and served with a local product.
It was almost spiritual - the incredible combination of these dishes – the fact that the tuna tasted like I was eating the head of the fish and the burrata and tomato, and the choice of the sparkling Rose.
The Fonduta e Robiola Anellini with Black Truffles and Vacca Rossa (the cheese) was fun. The intention of this dish was to pick the anellini ring up with your finer and run in through the cheese and black truffles. The anellini was shaped like an engagement ring.
The 100 Layer Lasagna is 50 layers of ragù that is cooked for 6 hours and 50 layers of pasta. Again, the dish came on plates from Richard Ginori.
Before Mark served the next course of Bigoli con Anatra and Goose Liver, he brought out friulian style polenta and poured it on top of a marble table and let it sit while I ate the bigoli.
This traditional pasta (by Tony) was made with duck. It was a whole-wheat pasta made with the torchio, a typical instrument for making pasta in Veneto. Tony grated the frozen liver over the pasta. I loved the liver, it was fantastic! And the pasta was so "scrunchy" – like when it has a bite but it’s not crunchy – it’s perfect!
The dish, Veal in Ash with Grass and Corn, was served in 2 stages. The veal itself was dusted in powdered hardwood charcoal then grilled to 100 degrees. The kidney is cooked in its own fat. Alongside the veal at the table, Mark had a sauce made from ossobucco in a copper pot. He plated the set polenta, sliced the veal and finished with the vinogrette of ossobuco made with the same Barolo we were drinking! Bergadano Barolo “Sarmassa” 2001
Then he served the polenta crusty from the inside of the cast iron vessel, made only with water and extra virgin olive oil. It made a crunchy chip, and he served it on top of tall grass, with the kidney condiment. The picture is beautiful.
I was introduced to the beginning of the desserts by Brooks, and Mark joined me at the table. The Salt Baked Pineapple was the first of five desserts and began with the international symbol of hospitality, salt roasted with spices and frozen yogurt. The peel was soaked in spices and dipped in Greek yogurt and frozen. A perfect segway to the dessert courses.
The Eggplant Costata with Sheep's Milk Ricotta Straciatella and Chocolate Olive Oil was a trip into Naples. It was nice because it was equally savory and sweet. And the ricotta ice cream was the best I’ve ever had – even in Italy. It was fantastic.
The Tree di Cacao was so sexy and the Tangerines on ice were very good, along with Lidia’s Fregolotta. The way they finished the Collezione with dry cookies, and the juice of the fruit all over the table, it was so Italian – this is what it is like in Italy.
The sequence of the dishes was great too. I ate the chocolate and was so full. And then the tangerines, it made my mouth ready to eat more chocolate – because the tangerines were soft with acidity and the chocolate was crispy. The dried cookies were the perfect way to finish.
The Service of café alla Napoletana was being prepared from the start of the desserts. I know, because I smelt it! They whipped a splash of the coffee with sugar in front of me and it was delicious.
This Collezione by Mark Ladner is what I mean when I talk about True Italian cooking."
Read the article also in True Italian Cooking the new blogspot by Cesare Casella http://truitalianusa.blogspot.com/
Protegé of Mario Batali and Executive chef at Del Posto Restaurant, Manhattan, began his education at Johnson & Wales before moving to his native Boston to cook with Todd English at the original Olives Restaurant in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Mark then moved to New York City where he worked for several years with Scott Bryan and Jean Georges Vongeritchen before opening Babbo as a sous-chef. Mark then opened Lupa, Otto and Del Posto with partners Batali, Joe Bastianich and Jason Denton.
Mark cooks a sensible blend of rustic Italian flavors, using responsibly raised and locally grown products.
He currently resides with his family in Greenwich Village.
From Italy and Chile: The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils
Two Italian extra virgin olive oils and one from Chile have been declared the best in the world at the recent Sol d’Oro 2010, an international competition celebrated within the International Salon of Quality Extravirgin Olive Oil (Verona, 15-20 March 2010). The award for the best “light fruity” went to Agricola y Forestal Don Rafael of Santiago de Chile. For the "medium fruity" category the prize went to Villa Stabbia di Massa Cozzile (Pistoia - Tuscany) and for the "intense fruity" to Frantoio Quattrociocchi Americo di Alatri (Frosinone - Latium). Many Italian producers, given the bad year they had in terms of harvest quality and quantity preferred not participate in the competition. On the other hand the award received by Chile is a deserved acknowledgement for the work done by the almost 40 Chilean producers who export the 20% of the 2500 tonnes of production
Ricciarelli and Bologna’s Potato Are Now Protected By The European Union
The European Union gave the green light for the inclusion of two other Italian products in the Denominations of Protected Origin and Indications of Protected Origin (DOP and IGP in Italian). The products in question are the "Ricciarelli di Siena" and the "Patata di Bologna". The Ricciarelli are a traditonal Christmas sweet made in Siena and its surroundings since long time and today consumed all year round. The famous potato from the province of Bologna has always been a favorite of good food lovers, for its peculiar color and taste, generated by the conjunction of climate, soil, cultivation techniques and conservation systems. Soon the delicious Marrone (chestnut) della Valle di Susa is expected to enter the register of DOP and IGP as well.
Chefs abroad for the traceability of high quality Italian extra virgin olive oil
Sante de Santis, Pietro Rongoni and Fabio Cappellano
The CNO (Consorzio Nazionale degli Olivicultori), a 40-year-old Italian National Organization of more than 200.000 olive producers, has chosen three renowned chefs from the itchefs-gvci network to launch it´s European campaign for the traceability of high quality Italian extra virgin olive oil. The chefs are: Sante De Santis, chef patron of the restaurant San Pietro in Stuttgart (Germany- 23. 03. 2010), Pietro Rongoni chef patron of La Serenata in Moscow (Russia- 27. 03. 2010) and Fabio Cappellano of Qualitalia, in Delft (The Netherlands- 29. 03. 2010), who has been supported by the Restaurant Artusi. During a week of tastings and Special Dinners, open to media, opinion leaders and industry operators, the chefs, accompanied by Rosario Scarpato, itchefs-GVCI Managing Editor and GVCI Honorary President have promoted the traceability system that the CNO has created and is implementing. Top representatives of the CNO have introduced the events in all three nations introducing the system includes a voluntary certification allowing to qualify extra virgin olive oil as ‘High Quality’, when the 120 guidelines and practical indications are met by the oil producer.
These guidelines range from soil preparation, olives harvest, milling to oil distribution and storage. In such a way the Consortium not only certifies the origin of the products, following the production path from cultivation to commercial distribution but it guarantees the application of the best production practices, in order to ensure both food safety and consumers alike.
High quality Extra Virgin Olive oil, each with its special taste and aroma, are tools in the hands of creative chefs, real ambassadors of quality, who make thousands of recipes mixing ingredients in perfect combination with the many nuances in taste of the different cru of extra virgin olive oil. Italy, second producer country, is leader with the richest number of cultivars (more than 500) due to the great variety of soils, microclimates and to the long commitment of olive growers during centuries of cultivars improvement. Such richness deserves to be enhanced and disseminated. This is why the Consorzio Nazionale degli Olivicoltori, has aimed first of all at implementing the traceability of high quality Italian extra virgin olive oil.
An extensive reportage on the CNO traceability system will soon be available in www.itchefs-gvci.com.
Mario Caramella: "When Marchesi Came To Hong Kong"
A picture of the time: Mario Caramella (far left) and
Gualterio Marchesi (in white)
Gualtiero Marchesi was invited to Hong Kong by the Grand Stanford Intercontinental Hotel. It was a great success. I was the chef de Cuisine of the Mistral, the Italian Restaurant of the hotel. We had invited some prestigious Master chefs from Italy before, such as Mario Musoni. But in that occasion we were determined to do something very big, so we invited Marchesi. The concept of the Mistral, however, was far too casual for a three Michelin star chef as himself, so we decided to invade the Belvedere, the French restaurant of the hotel. The cuisine of Marchesi’s Bistrot was offered at the Mistral, and that of the Gualtiero Marchesi´s restaurant at Bovesin della Riva (first Italian Restaurant ever given three Michelin stars) at the Belvedere. Marchesi had invaded with great success practically the whole Hotel.
Marchesi was the first great Italian chef who cracked the long hegemony of French cuisine in Hong Kong. Before he came along, in the former British, people and media used to talk only of chefs as Bocuse and Robuchon. The great Italian chefs were basically unknown. With the visit of Marchesi the work of Italian chefs in Hong Kong – Gabriele Colombo at the Grissini in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Umberto Bombana at Toscana in the Ritz Carlton and myself - were finally greatly appreciated. We made the people of Hong Kong realize that the level of modern Italian cuisine was much higher than the stereotypes of pizza, pasta and a mandolin.
Gaultiero Marchesi and Mario Caramella
Journalists, television networks, many chefs and industry operators, but overall many many clients, came to see Marchesi and to taste his food. The hotel restaurants were fully booked every night, which was something quite normal for the Mistral, but not for the Belvedere, that had an average of 20 customers per evening.
Among the young chefs who came as Marchesi´s assistants there were names that are today are among the most renowned Italian chefs. Ernst Knam, for example, today one of the greatest pastry chefs in Italy, who was obsessed with soufflés. And Andrea Berton, then chef de partie at Bovesin della riva restaurant and today chef of one of the most successful restaurants in Milan.
I’ll never forget something that happened when Gualtiero Marchesi was interviewed by a journalist of the South China Morning Post. I was the interpreter. The journalist asked Marchesi how old he was. “Sixtyfive”, he answered. The journalist commented that usually at that age people retire and asked another question: Who, in Marchesi’s opinion, was the future of Italian cuisine? And Marchesi seriously replied: “I am”.
AN ITALIAN CUISINE BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
Gualtiero Marchesi, possibly the most famous Italian chef worldwide, has just celebrated his 80th birthday. There are many, the people who, in Italy and abroad, have written extensively on his life, career, cuisine and beliefs. Among the most poignant profiles on the Master Italian chef ever published is the one signed by Spanish food critic Rafael García Santos, founder and director of the prestigious publication Lo mejor de la gastronomia. Here some excerpts from the article published in 2006.
“(Gualtiero Marchesi) has acomplished a corpus of work that is utterly personal and Italian. It includes dishes whose glory will endure the passing of time. His spirit and erudition have created a school with disciples of such relevance as Paolo Lopriore, Carlo Cracco, Enrico Crippa, Davide Oldani, Andrea Berton, etc. It is as a consequence of all this that he is world famous.
Rafael García Santos
His cooking is branded by the kind of passion that comes from art. He paints, in such a way!, using china as a canvas. The beauty as well as the minimalism in the layout of his compositions has given them character and an unmistakeable mark. He tends to display esential, very thought-over constructions, using very few elements, that express talent, loads of talent, so much so that the the way in which he carries it out makes the difference. Two, three, four elements, amazingly enough, compose an astounding, radiant body. The examples are endless. To name a few: the cold spaghetti, caviar and chives salad: a revolution of display, three details, lots of magic, the fundaments of epicure... Another artistic wonder: the open raviolo; a bold, round star of open leaves, extended and pointy like a round, see-through mille feuille ”.
Some of Marchesi´s famous dishes:
1. Rice, Gold and Saffron,
2. Fuchsia Beetroot Risotto (among others) and
3. Open Raviolo
“The reason is that Gualtiero has always been a character very sensitive to beauty, innovation, simplicity and pure, imaculate flavours. All these: the milanese feeling, the french technique and the exceptional gift of taste, both of flavour and inteligence, are a part of the most laureate of the risottos: rice, gold and saffron. A perfect tactile contrast between the cereal and the creamy sauce melting into one other self. And when you taste it, the rice keeps its identitly, the saffron appears unmistakeable and delicately”.
“Traditional flavours, sauces with the body of a model and striking artistic beauty. What can be said of such exceptional works as the spaghetti “Dritti” or the marchesian extravaganza, the virtuous fuchsia beetroot risotto, the erudite veal steak alla Rossini ... a cuisine that´s beyond good and evil. Of a character that transcendes time, that enjoys art and urges you to taste it”.