For a global cuisine

Claudio Liu of Iyo illustrates the ideas and inspirations collected at Expo delle Idee, for the the future of restaurants

01-03-2015
Claudio Liu, Italian-Chinese patron at restaurant

Claudio Liu, Italian-Chinese patron at restaurant Iyo in Milan, was one of the participants in the discussion on restaurants – coordinated by Paolo Marchi – at Expo delle Idee, organised in Milan last 7th February. Tomorrow a second event will take place, in view of the creation of the Carta di Milano, this time at the Ministry guided by Maurizio Martina. We will soon give you a detailed report on this

Sitting at the Round Table organised by the Ministry for Agricultural Policies and, in particular, at the table "Aggiungi un posto a tavola: la ristorazione di domani", dedicated to the future of restaurants and coordinated by Paolo Marchi, was a very interesting and stimulating experience. The opportunity for confrontation with other professionals, each one with their business philosophy, their vision of food and the restaurant industry, let some complex themes emerge as well as visions that were sometimes opposite.

I strongly appreciated the fact there weren’t only restaurateurs at the table, and, even among restaurateurs, different ideals were represented. During the discussions, a difference immediately emerged between those who stay in the kitchen and suppliers: needs don’t always match, objectives sometimes collide.

When illustrating the criticalities in our sector and some useful proposals for Carta di Milano, internationally acclaimed chefs such as Massimo Bottura and Carlo Cracco manifested the need of an intervention on behalf of institutions to make it easier to get young people involved in the kitchen through internships; emerging chefs such as Antonia Klugmann restated the link with the territory and the influence this has in the choice of ingredients; entrepreneurs representing Electrolux and Alce Nero livened up the debate, shifting the attention to the need of a more modern approach in the management of suppliers and in the organisation.

A group photo of the participants at table 16 at Expo delle Idee: Left to right, above, Carlo Cracco, Lucio Cavazzoni, Marco Reitano, Enrico Borniotto of Msc catering, Severino Salvemini, Luca Rimoldi (Università Milano Bicocca), Paolo Marchi, Max Bergami, Maurizio Patron, Claudio Liu. Sitting, left to right, Franco Pepe, Lino Stoppani, Pietro Zito, Massimo Bottura and Antonia Klugmann (photo Passera)

A group photo of the participants at table 16 at Expo delle Idee: Left to right, above, Carlo Cracco, Lucio Cavazzoni, Marco Reitano, Enrico Borniotto of Msc catering, Severino Salvemini, Luca Rimoldi (Università Milano Bicocca), Paolo Marchi, Max Bergami, Maurizio Patron, Claudio Liu. Sitting, left to right, Franco Pepe, Lino Stoppani, Pietro Zito, Massimo Bottura and Antonia Klugmann (photo Passera)

I felt I had a privileged point of observation, as an entrepreneur who enjoys an intense and symbiotic connection with the kitchen. This is why I wanted to share my experience and my conclusions, which are also influenced by the fact I am a mix of different cultures, something which I consider a resource. My speech, indeed, was focused on the model of “global cuisine” which I created in my restaurant, where different cultures communicate and create, together, an international type of cuisine – and a type of restaurant offer, broadly speaking.

This is why I stressed that we need to do this job while keeping well in mind the fact that Italian borders can be ideally crossed: to see the future of the restaurant industry we need to learn to look beyond what we already know, introducing a new model, capable of communicating with young people, observing what happens around us, moving with the times.

The new target of clients aged 25-35 is very prepared: they know what they want, are capable of illustrating and imagining a world in a few seconds: they are those from whom I believe we need to get inspired, understanding that restaurant needs to move fast too, interpreting the tastes and knowing how to adapt them to our food vision. I strongly believe that the challenge of the future is indeed this: passing from a chef-centric vision, to one based on the client. Meanwhile, we need to create a dynamic and sound workplace, transmitting knowledge and skills so the sector can grow.

A group photo of the staff at Iyo after the speech given at Identità Milano 2015, together with Federico De Cesare Viola who moderated the lecture

A group photo of the staff at Iyo after the speech given at Identità Milano 2015, together with Federico De Cesare Viola who moderated the lecture

Choosing to offer hospitality doesn’t mean only bringing clients to appreciate the creativity and philosophy of the chef – which remain, nonetheless, decisive success factors – but also creating a virtuous circle of reciprocal exchange between dining room and kitchen, between the creativity of those who stand by the stove and the stimuli, the signals that arrive from those who come to dine and expect a unique experience for the palate.

I therefore wish for Milan to learn from the Expo to pull down the frontiers, embracing a more complete and modern restaurant model that is not just the exportation of quality and creativity but also the capacity to welcome the stimuli of an increasingly passionate and mature public, so that the excellence of which we are capable can become a model we can export and replicate for the good of all.

I believe what stood out from the confrontation of different professional experiences was the need to accept different restaurant approaches in order to find a road that we can share, a road that can combine passion and business, maintaining a creative identity while the mind stays open to new global influences.


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