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Cook the Mountain, 5 Keywords For a New High-altitude Cooking

Cook the Mountain, 5 Keywords For a New High-altitude Cooking

A report from the 'Cook the Mountain' event in the Italian Dolomiti Alps: ten chefs gathered together to think of a new high-altitude gastronomy and manifesto.

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An idea or a movement can start anywhere in the world, any location can host a press day, but, the Dolomiti mountains are the best place for the Cook the Mountain manifesto. Chef Norbert Niederkofler has been thinking for quite some time to put down ideas for a new era: a project that involved the mountains, a great place to feel one with nature.

At 2000 meters, Niederkofler and nine others proclaimed the points of the manifesto, the fil rouge of high-altitude cooking.

1. TRADITION
In the mountains, tradition means respecting old values, those of the elderly generations. Recuperating ancient methods and techniques: such as preserving food in sand and be able to get fruits and vegetables during the long snowy winters.

2. CREATIVITY
Imagination based on natural ingredients to create a pure and intense taste on the palate.

3. HONESTY
Respecting the producers’ work and dignity by making them part of the valuable restaurant circuit. Ask them for great quality rather than quantity. Chefs don’t want intermediarie anymore, they want to work directly with the land owners. Cook the Mountain’s chefs want to think of the next generation and leave them the real essence of the mountains’ traditions.

4. INNOVATION
New technologies should help cooks to prepare the best dishes and respect the essence of the ingredients.

5. AWARENESS
It’s important to remember that you can find everything you need in the mountains. You don’t need fish, foie gras and all the other products that are not coeherent with the mountain environment.

Chefs from around the world gathered in the Dolomiti mountains to cook with herbs selected by Niederkofler: Virgilio Martinez from the Central, in Lima, cooked a zander with turnips, lime broth and Andean algae; Alfio Ghezzi from Locanda Margon, in Trento, prepared a shank with celery and radish; Rodolfo Guzman from Boragó, in Santiago del Cile, thought of a dessert: ice-cream with a five different herbs; Giancarlo Morelli from Pomiroeu, in Seregno (near Milan), farro with goat cheese and pinus mugo; Ana Ros from Hisa Franko, in Kobarid, Slovenia, cooked freshwater trouts; Roland Trettl – who took a sabbatical from cooking also believes in the movement – prepared scallions in salt crust and Alpine cheese; Josean Alija from Nerua Guggenheim, in Bilbao, cooked white turnip, dry fruits and savoy cabbage juice and mustard. Norbert Niederkofler, chef of St. Hubertus, in San Cassiano, and organizer of the event, celebrated the mountains with a deer tartare and Sambuco oil.

A celebration of the mountains, its values based on the belief that chefs can become role models: “Many young farmers are embracing these new ideas – confirms Niederkofler – There are two greenhouses in which we produce Alpine herbs, even in winter: in the end, we don’t intermediaries.”

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