Alajmo, a masterclass for real chefs

In Vicenza, the 6th professional course dedicated to Italian cuisine and promoted by the patrons at Le Calandre has just began. Theme: Beyond image

23-01-2018

Master della Cucina Italiana, act six, in Creazzo near Vicenza with Massimiliano and Raffaele Alajmo, as well as endocrinologist Mauro Defendente Febbrari. The first lesson was on Tuesday 16th January. It was dedicated to photography, thanks to Gianni Renna who displayed some of his recent photos. There’s nothing to be surprised about, if the first teacher was not a chef or a strictly-speaking food professional.

The chef’s profession (the course still doesn’t extend to the dining room service) has a wider and wider scope, embracing sectors that until a few years ago one couldn’t even imagine. Indeed the theme for the 2018 master is Beyond Image. This in order to stimulate participants to always escape prejudgement, mental structures, tv and social impositions, which are typical of the current digital society, so much so that many believe a dish must be above all beautiful, so it can shine in the photos. And then flavour is only of secondary importance because not everyone goes beyond social screens to taste the dish itself.

A souvenir photo for Massimiliano and Raffaele Alajmo with chef Alfredo Chiocchetti (Massimiliano’s mentor, over 20 years ago), and Mauro Defendente Febbrari

A souvenir photo for Massimiliano and Raffaele Alajmo with chef Alfredo Chiocchetti (Massimiliano’s mentor, over 20 years ago), and Mauro Defendente Febbrari

It is for this reason that they called a professional of images like Gianni Renna, so that pupils can understand and change the way they look at everything. In the words of Renna: «Beyond the image, there’s the goal to reach. As for food, the elegant image of a dish creates curiosity, desire, the perception of taste. So the aesthetics of a dish are the prelude to taste. Like in the arts, when emotions become images and images create emotions». It’s very true, but too many people just think of the prelude.

The master spreads over 800 hours of real commitment, with an internship of at least four months in fine dining and strict kitchens. Too many people, deluded by media sirens believe that becoming a chef is easy, an award at the end of a TV programme, and when they face reality it’s hard and they give up.

Four speakers from the first day of the Master della Cucina Italiana. Left to right: Ascanio Brozzetti, pastry chef at Le Calandre with the Alajmo family, Marco Perez, chef at Amistà 33, Diego Magro, sous chef at Le Calandre, and Alessandro Brusamento, representing last year’s class – he did an internship at Osteria Francescana with Massimo Bottura

Four speakers from the first day of the Master della Cucina Italiana. Left to right: Ascanio Brozzetti, pastry chef at Le Calandre with the Alajmo family, Marco Perez, chef at Amistà 33Diego Magro, sous chef at Le Calandre, and Alessandro Brusamento, representing last year’s class – he did an internship at Osteria Francescana with Massimo Bottura

The two Alajmo brothers and doctor Defendente Febbrari, the creators and curators of the master, make a perfect summary of their shared thoughts: «Beyond image is the title of this year’s course. Only 15 people have been admitted. The course started with a lesson by Gianni Renna. Our intention is to trace, through the photographs of one of the greatest Italian interpreters, the last culinary decades and show how vision and food itself have changed in our perception.

«We’ll try to go into depth and beyond, to understand the meaning of cooking and hospitality, so as to best represent our profession. This is what we intend to do at our school; work with great attention, create doubts and give value to differences, because it is through confrontation and sharing that you can build an authentic conscience».

Out of the 15 participants, one is from Ukraine, and some have a scholarship, including one promoted by Le Soste di Ulisse, an association of the best restaurants in Sicily. All the participants will enjoy the attention of 43 teachers, the last days of classes being set on the 15th June. Then they will all do an internship in a fine dining kitchen. Finally they will start their career, like those who attended the five previous editions. Among them, two have opened their own restaurants: Davide d'Onofrio, who took part in the first edition, and now runs Quattro, a creative wine bar in Savelletri di Fasano in Apulia, tel. +39.342.3617742, and Cristian Fagone, from the same edition, who now owns Impronte Ristorante in Bergamo, +39.0350175557. Others will follow.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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