Let’s Find New Classics
Posted in FreshAira on December 13, 2012 by
We, the Italian chefs who work abroad, are comfortably seated upon Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, lazily stretched out on Tiramisù and have our heads resting softly upon cushiony Mascarpone.
Italian cuisine is famous around the world and we chefs have the not so simple task of having our guests eat as if they were in Italy. We have a mission; promote our cuisine, our products, and – why not also? – promote our country.
The problem is that our classic dishes are so famous and renowned that we are getting lazy, we are resting on our laurels, or if you wish, on the laurel.
It’s true; there are some dishes that are difficult to remove from the menu. They are those dishes which have made our cuisine the most popular in the world and which all our guests around the world expect to find in any classic Italian restaurant. Let’s face it; the temptation of living on rent attracts.
So then, we have to tackle this laziness. If it’s true that the overwhelming majority of the Italian chefs abroad are not required to produce creative cuisine but rather to produce our traditional cuisine with a modern flair, it’s also true that this doesn’t mean that they necessarily remain immobile.
It’s as if we wanted to promote Italy’s artistic heritage by always exhibiting the same ten beautiful works of art, while forgetting that a good part of the world’s artistic heritage is to be found in Italy too. The same reasoning can be applied to cooking.
So then, we ought to seek out dishes to be reproduced abroad from our boundless heritage of regional dishes, and many of them may well be unknown to the bulk of Italy’s huge public.
Let it be clear that this idea of mine is neither new nor original. However, things today have changed. Now we can prepare dishes in Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and Sidney, something that some time ago was impossible to do. Globalization has made it possible to obtain our products in excellent condition in many countries of the world.
Today, we can venture to do much more and we should approach our regional cuisine differently. Now, we select those dishes which are adapted to our restaurant, to our guests and to the country we work in. We modernise them without distorting them, we inform our guests of their histories because they are looking for that information too.
We carry out the marketing of the dish, we give it the importance it deserves, we launch it as a classic, because that’s what it is – a classic of Italian cuisine.
We treat our dishes as books or as new hits to be launched on the market. This could be GVCI’s new initiative to follow the IDIC, the International Day of Italian Cuisines.
We have dishes that are pearls hidden, just waiting to be discovered and launched on the international market. Let me give you one of dozens of examples: La focaccia al formaggio di Recco, Recco cheese focaccia, a totally regional dish delimited to a very small area, is prepared in San Francisco at the Farina Restaurant and in Singapore at the InItaly Restaurant. If this dish became more popular at international level, it would bring in tow a growing consumption; fresh Recco cheese is purely Italian and could enjoy the same fortune as Mozzarella.
If we are bothered by always being represented by pizza and a mandolin, we ought to supply our guests, worldwide, with another look at things. Let’s give our guests a little more to remember and to talk about. Let’s have our guests discover another Italy, other the than the one they already know or think they know. The entire Italian Chamber of Oenogastronomy would benefit from it.