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Identità Golose 2016 - The International Chef Congress

Wednesday, 09 March 2016
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We went to Identità Golose, a famous international yearly culinary congress held in Milan; the theme this year was “the strength of freedom”. 

Some of the world’s most important chefs expressed their opinions about creativity and conviviality, so strongly put to the test by the tensions affecting the world.

We did not have enough time to attend all of the conferences, however we spent two days in close contact with some inspiring personalities, feeling their energy, and we would like to share with you the most interesting points. 

Davide Scabin opened “Identità Golose” talking about Anthropocene, a proposed epoch that begins when human activities started to have a significant global impact on Earth's geology and ecosystem, and how we have managed to make such big disasters to the earth in such a small time. The food industry has a big impact on the world and we need to make an effort to try to improve the situation.
In 2007 it was the year of molecular cuisine at Identità Golose, and Scabin cooked Tatami aubergines and a salad. In 2011 all the chefs were making salads. Now everybody talks about organic food, but is not often clear where it comes from, or what is inside. The industry should be more transparent! The easiest way to help the planet now would be to eat less meat and more pulses. We need stop following trends, “freedom is being able to change the future”. 

Enrico Crippa’s idea of freedom is to be not only a chef, but also an artist. He talked about colours in nature and the triumph of the seasons, with a pink risotto coloured with beetroots, shiso and raspberries, and the elegance of the wintery white given by celeriac and turnip in different textures; yellow and orange with cod and pumpkin cream… His cuisine has a fast pace, changes very often, and what sets the pace is the produce that grow in his kitchen garden.

“We are what we are” is the title of the conference held by Massimiliano Alajmo and endocrinologist Mauro Defente Febbrari. The freedom of a chef always needs to take into account how the body assimilates the food and the perception of taste. 
The intestine is defined as a “second brain” able to perceive the flavours better than the real brain, without passing by the nervous system. We are what we are thanks to our past experiences, with a spiritual implication on wellbeing and the connection with the world, and also because of genetical factors that evolve because of external inputs. “Life is cooked with two ingredients: our roots and our wings” 
You should not give up pleasures, only an approach that takes into accountthe beauty and elegance of pleasure can give vital inputs to the stomach. Chefs need to listen to the ingredients and study them through different techniques enhancing the flavours and textures. And here comes Massimiliano’s research on water, as a mean to transport the elements of the ingredients, analysed through high temperature cooking methods (now considered obsolete) and steam.

According to Carlo Cracco the strenght of freedom lays in innovation, in the ability of tracing new paths, trying new things and risking. He prepares three dishes that show how the history of cuisine evolve through innovation, always keeping in mind the tradition and our past. 

Paolo Lopriore held a very interesting lecture regarding his new idea of conviviality, with a big focus on the role of the waiter. In his new restaurant “Il Portico” the dishes will be assembled on the table by the clients, according to their tastes. According to Paolo, the most rewarding part of cooking are the 4 minutes before a dish is finished; with a new range of tableware, and with the help of the waiter, it will be possible for the client to enjoy this moment too. And chefs go back to do what they should do… simple cook, not impress! 

Massimo Bottura was finally the last conference we attended and - as we expected - the most theatrical one. The spotlights were on his sous chefs, cooking one of his dishes on the stage, whilst Massimo was telling about his “contemporary chef’s Manifesto” from the backstage. (click here for more)
“Creating a new recipe is an intellectual action implying the involvement of raw materials, technique and memory. Summing up, we squeeze all this into mouthfuls of edible culture that taste like our passions, used as a channel to convey emotions”