Let’s not forget our roots

On the 28th of November, we presented the 2018 Guida di Identità Golose. Here’s Paolo Marchi’s introduction

Paolo Marchi with Luisa Acciarri at Identità

Paolo Marchi with Luisa Acciarri at Identità Milano 2017. Here’s the introduction to the Guida 2018, signed by the creator and curator of Identità Golose

Ancora poche ore: tutto è pronto per la grande presentazione della Guida Identità Golose 2018, prevista domattina, 28 novembre, all'Excelsior Hotel Gallia di Milano (solo su invito). L'evento, oltre ad alzare il sipario sulla Guida IG ai ristoranti in Italia e nel mondo, assegnerà anche i Premi alle giovani stelle della cucina. Pubblichiamo in anteprima l'introduzione, scritta ovviamente da Paolo Marchi, ideatore e curatore di Identità Golose 

Only a few hours ago, 28th November, we presented the Guida Identità Golose 2018 at the Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan (only by invitation). The event, on top of revealing the Guida IG ai ristoranti in Italia e nel mondo, awarded the Young stars in the kitchen. Here’s the introduction, signed of course by Paolo Marchi, creator and curator of Identità Golose 

There’s nine hundred reviews making the eleventh edition of the Guida di Identità Golose. Each year this number increases and there could be many more if only we had the time and patience to visit all the places that people recommend us, directly or indirectly. Now that we’re free of the straightjacket of a printed guide, it’s the editorial staff itself that sets the limit.

Our horizons fade far away. This happens because we’ve always gone beyond visiting every corner of Italy. We know we have to compare our restaurant scene to that of other European countries and of other continents. There’s more: clients also are no longer satisfied. The days when newspapers and television only focused on the Italian football championship and the European games in which our clubs took part come to mind. Everything else was summed up. Now you must know everything about every single league, team or tournament. Why should it be different for chefs and patrons? Why should we constrain ourselves within our borders?

The examples come from our own professionals. Footballers and trainers are now scattered around the globe, something unimaginable until the Nineties, and the same applies to good and excellent chefs. Plus they travel as protagonists. Around the world, people are no longer happy with Italian sounding food presented by mediocre cooks. Unfortunately, this phenomenon will always exist and as Italians, given we pay so much attention to how pasta is cooked abroad, sooner or later we should also wonder if the cuisines that have arrived here are authentic. Are we sure they are?

Our journey around the world - directed by Gabriele Zanatta whom I’ll never thank enough for the commitment, attention and passion he shows every day between one edition and the other, hence all year round - is increasingly interesting and surprising. In the middle of this decade, not only Italian chefs are more and more convincing, they also emerge at an increasingly young age, something that has been happening in pastry making for some time. We no longer need to deal with the rush to enrol in catering school resulting from popular reality shows on pots and pans. Great professional schools, universities, master degrees are thriving. Even dining room training is no longer a taboo. There are more and more students approaching fine dining who graduated in all sorts of subjects and later decided to work in the restaurant industry. Out of certainty, the strongest motivation.

The old printed edition of the guide

The old printed edition of the guide

Hence, every year, the number of restaurants increases, and many have chefs in their twenties or thirties, often even female chefs and foreign chefs who embraced Italy or Italian cuisine. But there are many Italians working abroad too. There’s a strong demand for them, because they have competence, passion, and genius. But there’s a risk: many choose to gain experience in very distant places, in Northern Europe or America or Asia, and no longer consider knowing regional cuisines as essential. In fact, the latter are the backbone of the so called Italian Cuisine. They don’t even put France at the heart of their growth, at a time when our cousins pay more attention to us and our products.

Clearly, this can be dangerous as it can cause a loss of identities. I use the plural form because our strength, and sometimes even our weakness, is our individualism, our widespread parochialism. The day will come when we’ll know how to sublimate these into a national system capable of moving around the world in unison. Not just with restaurants and taverns, but with pizzerias and ice cream shops too, with espresso coffee and paninis, cakes and recipes.

Paolo Marchi and Claudio Ceroni

Paolo Marchi and Claudio Ceroni

But since this is the presentation of a guide, my greatest thanks go to the people without whom nothing would have been possible. Thanks to Claudio Ceroni, my partner in every project, a person who feeds on my same desire to push boundaries and to renovate. Thanks Cinzia Benzi who masterfully takes care of trade relations with Alessandra Piazzoni and thus supports all our ambitions. Thanks to Giulia Corradetti, my guardian angel, and Carlo Passera, who curates the Identità Golose website and has the guide at heart too.

Thanks to each one of the 98 contributors to our Guida 2018. Thanks to those who took care of the darkest work, like editing and making 900 calls to double check every info: Elena Cattaneo, Silvia Crippa and Chiara Nicolini. Thanks again to Elena, as well as Sveva Pacifico and Slawka Scarso for the translations, and a thank you as big as a rainbow goes to two people who had an unimaginable amount of work: Elia Bogani and Manuel Crippa. The technical project and design is theirs. These two guys have infinite patience: they listened to all my questions without rolling their eyes. They worked hard like all those who, with different tasks, participate in Identità’s various projects.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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