Identita Golose 2017
When I heard about this event being hosted in Milan, I must admit, I got a little excited. Culture is one of the most powerful tools we have and although often forgotten or altered, this event brought me back to the basics. Food is often associated with memories shared with others or by ourselves. What is your best memory that you can associate with food? Is it your mom’s secret chicken soup recipe that could cure any cold, or the way the aroma of freshly baked bread filled your home and your heart?
The first chefs and pastry chefs meeting in Italy was held back in 2004 and was founded by Paolo Marchi. When this event started out, it was without much of a fanfare but has grown in popularity over the years. This being the 13th anniversary, it is imperative that such an event was craved by not only top chefs, but also by lovers of good food. The number of guests attending this event has grown beyond expectations over the years. It was a true honour to be part of such a revolutionary movement.
Being the foodie that I am, a food conference focusing on cultural dishes was pure heaven. A beautiful combination of the best chefs and food enthusiasts educating and enlightening a host of people, in a comfortable setting. 3 days of inspiration and innovation is what I would call the experience. The theme was clear and simple, yet powerful. ‘The strength of freedom, the journey’. Everything travels: people travel, ideas travel and products alike. This was the 13th edition of Identità Golose and for the first time, started on a Saturday instead of a Sunday.
The idea behind this year’s theme was to allow chefs and cooks to express their journeys to freedom in the kitchen. The road that led them to express themselves through their food and visual creations. They shared their travels and the experiences it took to become fine dining chefs. Italian food has always been a popular choice around the world. I found it both fascinating and inspiring listening to these top chefs and realising that each and every one of them take responsibility to keep culture alive while improving local dishes.
Fine dining chefs from Italy and International destinations included:
- Massimo Bottura
- Carlo Cracco
- Niko Romita
- Palmiro Ocampo
- Rodolfo Guzman
- Norbert Niederkofler
- Angel Leon
Massimo Bottura presented his session to a predictable, filled to the max auditorium. Massimo’s restaurant Osteria Francescana is currently voted the best restaurant in the world. He focused on the Italian Renaissance of cooking. He said that restaurants need to be Renaissance workshops and chefs need to learn the technique of creating good food, but more importantly, learn the style of a chef. He then went further to say that the main ingredient of a good chef is culture. I thought that was a powerful statement.
There were so many innovative dishes presented at this event that it would take a lifetime to explain and express, but some of the standout ones included Chef Cedroni’s “fishy ice-cream” and Eugenio Boer’s “wrong Carbonara”. I sounds so inedible, but what these chefs were able to create was astonishing. This is why events like these are so important to show us that it’s okay to step outside of the box and experience true freedom in the dishes we create.
I will take the techniques I learned and apply it in my own kitchen. The lesson for me from this event was to not conform to the normal way of cooking, while keeping culture intact. When you think about what culture means, the interaction with others, the moments we love and the foods we eat, it all stands for something. Heritage is important and the reminder to proudly stick to the basics while adding a little spice (no pun intended) to what we are already good at, is where the freedom in expression lies.
We all could use a little more freedom in our everyday lives and that is why this event was so refreshing. Being able to rub shoulders with some of Italy’s best chefs was a humbling experience. Even though they are normal people like me and you, they have been able to create an artistry that will continue for generations. Listening to their journeys to this so called freedom, told me that we all are on a journey of discovery. Many of them had to start at the bottom and work their way up to the place where they could share their thoughts through food. If you are a foodie or just need some culinary inspiration, I encourage you to attend next year’s event. There will be no regrets; only inspiration, motivation and a dash of awe.