Italian chef Daniela Cicioni is one of the finalists of The Vegetarian Chance, a festival organized by journalist Gabriel Eschenazi and Pietro Leemann, chef at Joia, in Milan. The first international vegetarian festival will be the occasion to discuss this rising life choice.
The Vegetarian Chance will be divided in two days: the first on June 7th at the Monte Verità, in Ascona, Switzerland, the second on June 22th at Joia where eight chefs will be competing with their vegetarian dish. The jury will be composed by Leemann, American chef Kristen Thibeault, the experts Marco Bianchi and Lorenzo Sonogini, journalist Davide Paolini and chef Luca Sacchi.
While we wait for the contest, Fine Dining Lovers met with Daniela for a chat. Here's what she had to say:
Three words to describe you.
Stubborn, intuitive, sensitive.
How would you define your style in the kitchen?
Live and vibrant.
Do you cook vegan at your restaurant? If yes, how long has it been and why?
Since I’ve found out about macrobiotics, in 2000, until I became totally vegan, in 2006. Initially I did it for health issues, later it became an ethically conscious choice for the environment.
Which products do you use the most from your region? Buckwheat, spontaneous herbs such as thyme and wild mint.
What do you think of the rising success of vegetarian and vegan diets?
I believe it’s a good process that will develop further in time. I hope it’s for good reasons and not because of a superficial interest.
What would you consider the icon of vegan dishes?
I don’t think there is just one, but many. Vegan dishes have been around for centuries all over the world, with each country its own. Legumes and cereals are very common ingredients.
What do you see in your kitchen in the future?
I will definitely develop fermentation and cooking techniques below 42°C.
Geranium's Rasmus Kofoed has decided to stop serving meat at the restaurant currently ranked number two on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. But the Danish chef isn't yet willing to go purely plant-based.