Healthy intelligence from 4 continents

The file rouge of the congress in the thoughts of Brock, Martinez, Atherton, Beck, Romito, Bartolini...

09-02-2015
Niko Romito presented this afternoon by Gianluca B

Niko Romito presented this afternoon by Gianluca Biscalchin. The chef of Casadonna in Castel di Sangro (L'Aquila), among other things, dwelled on a set of rules that he summed up in "10 lezioni di cucina" [10 cooking lessons] (published by Giunti, in the "I Contorni di Piattoforte" series, with co-author Laura Lazzaroni). (photo credits Brambilla/Serrani, translation by Slawka G. Scarso)

Photogallery

Francesca Barberini e il team di scienziati di Heinz Beck: Stefano Mancuso, professore di neurobiologia delle piante, Guido Caldarelli, fisico statistico e Rocco Bellantone, preside della Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia dell'Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Roma
La cucina di altitudini andine del peruviano Virgilio Martinez

The congress starts again, after the lunch break and after the many contrasting emotions of the morning. To keep the attention high you need someone like Niko. Niko Romito of Reale in Castel di Sangro. Through his slides he illustrates a maniacal work on cooking processes, especially those for meat, and then his stone tablets. And how many can they be? Ten. We list them just like he lays them out. Simplicity. Stratification. Evolution. Balance. Archetype. Health. Vegetal. Sweet. Bread. Tasting. The chef appears anxious, desirous of ears that will listen to him, brains that will absorb him, antennas that will pick him up. For this he entrusts a book he later distributes. Not the usual book by a chef, he says. And so does everyone.

Jason Atherton. The bricks of an empire founded on 20 restaurants all around the world: London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, New York, Dubai, Sydney... Left, Gabriele Zanatta

Jason Atherton. The bricks of an empire founded on 20 restaurants all around the world: London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, New York, Dubai, Sydney... Left, Gabriele Zanatta

Sean Brock played the blues from the south of the United States on the stage, a disregarded biodiversity paradise. “By comparing various forms of expression it emerges that the best results come from poverty. As with cooking, which where I come from is an emanation of agriculture”. His effort to recuperate forgotten vegetables (he speaks about it in his book called Heritage), which undergo the christening of fire, smoke and ash, is remarkable. For instance, celeriac is cooked under the ashes while French beans are dried on the fireplace, a crispy concentrate of umami.

The head of a chain of 20 restaurants across the world, Jason Atherton was waving the flag of British renaissance above the congress, beyond the reasonable bad food prejudgement. “Meat and two vegetables” is the recipe for happiness, across the Channel: the boarding for an exportable English high cuisine, shaped by the deformalization of fine dining, following a concept that swallowed up the lecture. On the plate there were dates, beetroots and game; celeriac, salsify and pheasant.

Enrico Bartolini, a healthy intelligence at Devero in Cavenago Brianza (and beyond...), presented by Roberta Schira

Enrico Bartolini, a healthy intelligence at Devero in Cavenago Brianza (and beyond...), presented by Roberta Schira

Heinz Beck was escorted on the stage by a group of “scientist friends”: Stefano Mancuso, professor of Plant Neurobiology; Guido Caldarelli, Physicist-statistician, and Rocco Bellantone, head of Medicine. In search for a “collaborative intelligence”, to reinforce the expertise of the chef in terms of health and wellbeing. Apple, therefore, the intelligent fruit that man uses to propagate, through sweetness; but a universal flavour and panacea too. The juice, separated from the whey by centrifuge, gives flavour to its own sticks via osmosis, protecting them from oxidation; on the plate, with a lyophilised apple, there are Rotovapor spirit, apple and celery gelato, prepared with different varieties.

Sean Brock, the king of the South of the United States. With him, Laura Lazzaroni

Sean Brock, the king of the South of the United States. With him, Laura Lazzaroni

Enrico Bartolini got back to the theme of cooked cooking presenting 7 recipes to rebuild the rhythm of the menu. Classic contemporary even in the reference made to mythology. Demofonte as a scampi and the illusory almond, then: a story reinterpreted in the trompe-l’oeil of the chopped meat covered in a gelatine made with dried fruit, with the shell and the coral making the traditional broth more robust. The dish was followed by a variation based on the same Mediterranean pair. Hence the prawn with the legs cooked separately from the shell, to change the texture, pushed by the tamarind. The saor, instead, is interpreted as a raw-diet reverse, with the anchovies served raw but filled with sweet and sour onion, fat free: carpione outside, saor inside, with all the typical spices. To clean the mouth there’s mint in the sauce prepared as an emulsion with meat jus, a little mayonnaise, plus herb infusion and purée. Finally, the chargrilled aubergine in the shape of a glazed madeleine and the mushroom, a trompe-l’oeil of itself, in search for the surprise effect and the highest concentration.

Grand finale with Virgilio Martinez, the new star in Latin cuisine, today also at home in London. For him, territory means altitudes, which are every time crucial, whether you dig under the ground or climb up the Andes, so as to create vertical coordinates for the tasting. Therefore, a precise ecosystem belongs to each dish, see the ceviche, at zero metres above the sea level, with tubers and herbs sourced via foraging. The exploration surges in the dish with cereals from the Andes, from the quinoa family, with herbs, chilli pepper, tubers of the same altitude. Where temperature means natural lyophilisation too. Finally there’s the high altitude weeds, almost a spheriphication of the lake, served with the clay that naturally surrounds it. At 4000 metres.


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Photogallery

Francesca Barberini e il team di scienziati di Heinz Beck: Stefano Mancuso, professore di neurobiologia delle piante, Guido Caldarelli, fisico statistico e Rocco Bellantone, preside della Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia dell'Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Roma
La cucina di altitudini andine del peruviano Virgilio Martinez