Identità Golose 2017 drew to a close this week following three thrilling gourmet days filled with great chefs, bakers, pastry chefs, pizzaioli, sommeliers and other food professionals each taking a moment centre stage in the host city of Milan.
Marking the 13th edition of the prestigious food congress, which kicked off on 4 March, were some familiar faces like acclaimed chefs Massimo Bottura, Umberto Bombana, Davide Oldani, Christina Bowerman, Carlo Cracco, Davide Scabin, Rodolfo Guzman, Angel Leon and Heinz Beck, all pushing the culinary boundaries of creativity and innovation whilst championing this year's theme: The Power of Freedom: The Journey
Here are some highlights from this year's Identità Golose, 2017
The S.Pellegrino Experience Box
The brand new S.Pellegrino gastro-sensory Experience Box attracted plenty of interest throughout the three days. Expectant visitors were treated to a sound and sensory display exploring the S.Pellegrino Young Chef experience and the work that goes into creating a dish with truly extraordinary flavour. Visitors were also presented with tasting dishes prepared in the moment by chefs Cristina Bowerman (Glass Hostaria, Rome) and Loretta Fanella (Opéra, San Miniato) and joined by Paolo Griffa and Alessandro Rapisarda, respective Italian finalists of the 2015 and 2016 S.Pellegrino Young Chef editions.
A Tribute to Umberto Bombana
Umberto Bombana, winner of Asia's 50 Best Lifetime Achievement Award of Otto e Mezzo, Hong Kong, the first Italian restaurant to receive three Michelin stars outside of Italy, was lauded on stage as "the most Italian Ambassador that Italy might have." To help celebrate and reflect on the master of Italian cuisine's achievements were Enrico Crippa, Ezio Santin, Renata Fugazzi and Francesco Cerea.
Massimo Bottura and Art
Massimo Bottura presented to a buzzing and predictably packed auditorium. On stage, the chef from Osteria Francescana, currently the Best Restaurant in the World, focused on the Italian Renaissance of Cooking. Making a speech that was characteristically as artistic as it was gastronomic he explained "restaurants are to be Renaissance workshops, to learn not only the technique but also the style of a chef. And the chefs must become ambassadors of agriculture, to provide training, develop tourism and expand social vision. The key ingredient of the chef of the future is culture."
The Executive Pastry Chef at Make it Nice, which includes Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad was remarkably candid about the former’s struggle to find an identity, even as it was collecting Michelin stars in successive Guides. Chef Humm and the team had to set a framework in place, four food fundamentals for everyone to follow – ‘Beautiful,’ ‘Delicious,’ ‘Creative’ and ‘Intention.’ They haven’t looked back.
Italian, but not Italian
Were Sarah Minnick and Jun Lee the bravest chefs at Identita when presenting their interpretations of pizza and pasta respectively to the home crowd? Perhaps, but both succeeded. The self taught Minnick wowed with the freshness of the seasonal toppings on the pizzas she serves day in day out at Lovely’s Fifty Fifty in Portland, Oregon, while Jun Lee of Seoul’s Soigné restaurant prepared a Piedmontese filled pasta stuffed with pheasant meat that had everybody dreaming, Italians included.
The man behind none more avant-garde Ultraviolet restaurant in Shanghai, arrived to a suitably dramatic video introduction and continued to excite with his food while explaining the concept of ‘psycho taste,’ his theory concerning the influence of memory, emotion and external stimuli on taste.
New Italian Cuisine
Young protaganist of regional Italian cuisine, Luca Abbruzzino, championed the gastronomically growing southern Italian region of Calabria. When asked how it is possible to combine haute cuisine and cuisine in such a closed region, the star chef responded: "I love my land, will never leave." The chef went on to put the Calabrian prickly pear in the spotlight, using a technique learned in Central America.
From Calabria to Copenhagen and Riccardo Canella, sous chef to one of the best chefs in the world, recounted his story, just a few days after the closing of the old Noma. His dish of sepia drew on Padua tradition, and also a three month fermentation process. Reflecting on his style of cuisine he said: "It is an act of love, in the case of someone creating cuisine that showcases emotions and his childhood, in short, it is to get naked in front of others."
S.Pellegrino Young Chef Italian Jury and 20 Award
"We have before us a long journey, but we know where we want to go: the victory would be a reward for Italy who expect and deserve it in some way." Anthony Genovese, the new Mentor in the Italian S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 jury had clear ideas, on the forthcoming competition. Taking part in a round table discussion "Cultivating Talent" it was a prime opportunity to discuss the importance of dialogue between generations of chefs and the mentorship and guidance of emerging chefs in achieving their objectives.
In the spirit of encouraging young culinary talen,t a 20 award, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, was also presented to John and Floriano Pellegrino. The two brothers from Lecce, 21 and 26-years-old respectively, who opened their restaurant a little over a year ago immediately winning the acclaim of critics. "To do this job you have to be dreamers. We continue to dream every day, and be on this stage is a dream," the excited duo commented.
Paolo Casagrande of Lasarte, Barcelona
Identità di Mare was an opportunity to find out more about chef Paolo Casagrande from Lasarte, the Barcelona restaurant of Martin Berasategui that earnt three Michelin stars this year. The Italian chef explained more about his vibrant and elegant cuisine into which he has incorporated Asian ingredients, including mirin, ginger and curry. He also recounted the story of his cuisine through photos, as well as detailing the transformation of a club and a hotel – the Monument – which he adapted to become a restaurant, while restructuring the building itself to become a luxury hotel.
Chef Davide Oldani's contemporary take on "cassoeula" using a laboratory centrifuge to separate the blood was a totally innovative take on texture and flavour, Chef Cedroni's fishy take on ice-cream using salted cod, pizza topped with foie gras foam from Gennaro Asti and the "wrong Carbonara" from Eugenio Boer were just a few of the standout dishes that had people talking during the three days.