Milan Cuisine Week

IdentitÓ supports the idea emerging from the summit between Martina, Sala and the chefs


Paolo Marchi, minister Maurizio Martina and the ex Expo commissary Giuseppe Sala at yesterday’s meeting organised by Identità Golose. They discussed the state of the restaurant industry in Milan, one year after the World Fair

Let’s put it this way: had yesterday’s meeting created by Identità Golose at Fondazione Catella, in Milan, been organised elsewhere – say, Rome – it would have been a simple meeting of institutions and local chefs: a few promises, a little chat and then all off to the final buffet (which was in fact excellent, prepared by host Cesare Battisti). Instead, we were in Milan, and the productive and concrete spirit of the city appears to have influenced the summit which, in less than two hours of discussions, led to an excellent idea: organising a Settimana milanese della Cucina Milanese [Milan Cuisine Week] of course with institutions and privates joining forces, as Milan l’è on gran Milan.

Let’s immediately give the merit to the great old Gualtiero Marchesi – who knows how to invest excellent words of wisdom, among questionable complaints about the good old times – for launching the idea; to Beppe Sala, ex commissary at Expo and now in the middle of the race to become mayor, for committing to it immediately; to Maurizio Martina for supporting it, just like all the chefs at the meeting.

Gualtiero Marchesi speaks surrounded by the new bigs in the Milanese restaurant scene, often his pupils: as Davide Oldani, Francesco Cerea, Andrea Berton, Daniel Canzian

Gualtiero Marchesi speaks surrounded by the new bigs in the Milanese restaurant scene, often his pupils: as Davide Oldani, Francesco Cerea, Andrea Berton, Daniel Canzian

And there were many, the room was full: Carlo Cracco, Andrea Berton, Davide Oldani, Antonio Guida, Claudio Sadler, Pietro Leemann, Alessandro Negrini, Andrea Aprea, Fabrizio Ferrari, Daniela Cicioni, Gianluca Fusto, Elio Sironi, Christian Milone, Eugenio Boer, Eugenio Roncoroni, Daniel Canzian, Andrea Alfieri, Andrea Provenzani, Domenico della Salandra, Franco Aliberti and many other.

And we can immediately make official that Identità Golose supports the idea. Paolo Marchi did so, encouraged by Sala. The latter said: «Let’s think about it with Identità Golose, which is clearly capable of making things work. I’d say it can take place in 2017, let’s find a strong idea». Marchi’s reply during our interview: «Milanese cuisine in the world is very popular. Today the city’s offer is wide yet weak, a paradox, in terms of its most characteristic dishes, and this is also due to the fact that the international offer is today the most characterising one in town. I believe an activity like this must be accomplished; it must unite the strength of the multicultural vocation with the recovery and valorisation of our tradition which is in part forgotten». Claudio Ceroni, his entrepreneurial alter ego as patron of MagentaBureau: «Paolo is right: as citizens of Milan we don’t realise how bright the image of our city is abroad. The Settimana milanese della cucina is not only useful but right and essential. Today people often speak of chefs as ambassadors of Italian excellence abroad: very good. Yet they can and must be ambassadors of Milan too. By becoming its tasty business card».

Perhaps the strength of the post-Expo Milan, this new dynamicity it has, indeed results in the ability of finding perspectives, building the future, «the magic of a city with 2000 years of history yet absolutely contemporary. Here you can sense novelties. In Italy, it happens only in Milan», said Sala, who thus illustrated the change of gear experienced during Expo: «Were we aware of the change of looks that was taking place? Only to some extent. It happened suddenly, it was as if someone turned on the light. Click, and it all began» though «we’re surely experiencing double standards: there are areas that have fallen behind, and I will work on those, so they can participate in the growth. Yet there’s an audience here, the foundations are here. I’ll sum up the concept with a sentence: Piccolo Teatro sells more season tickets than Milan FC».

Maurizio Martina, on top of supporting the idea of the Settimana, pointed out his and the government’s commitment in supporting the growth of the industry, in exploiting the industry abroad as the country’s tip of the diamond: «We’re strongly motivated to give more and more strength to the overall Food Act project, which as you know is becoming gradually more substantial, involving many figures. This is the most interesting heritage for Expo. Milan will be capable of being always avantgarde: as chefs, you are part of the process, in fact you have the main role». Then a pragmatic idea: «As we said many times [referred to Marchi] on a national scale we must give us some time, let’s build the first activities and then assess pros and cons, so as to further improve. On a local base, in Milan, there are fewer problems: the city has already improved and continues to know how to walk independently, making use of its ideas». Like the Settimana, for instance.

Carlo Cracco’s speech. Sonia Re, representing Apci, is behind him ( Photo by Canio Romaniello

Carlo Cracco’s speech. Sonia Re, representing Apci, is behind him ( Photo by Canio Romaniello

To Marchesi who wished for «a metropolitan Milan extended to the suburbs, like Paris», Pietro Leemann replied indirectly «It’s important that we aim high. I live very well in Milan, it’s already a small version of Paris with a huge potential. Guida, Bartolini have arrived... We must work hard to define prospects: we can be avantgarde in environmental friendly policies. A more sustainable city, greener, more accessible to bicycles, cleaner» (and it’s already much cleaner than Paris, as council member Franco D’Alfonso pointed out).

The speeches of the others were also brilliant, as with Carlo Cracco: «The Expo experience has taught us we must continue to think of new events and organisations, so as to strengthen the positive trend». Andrea Berton: «I arrived here 11 years ago, I believe in Milan, I live here, I invested time, energies and money, I must say it has sensibly improved. Of course, some aspects are still critical, like the traffic, but it gives lots of energy». Davide Oldani: «To those who ask me whether Expo has had useful consequences, I reply like this: at the World Fair I served 70K dishes of my Zafferano e riso alla milanese D'O, created for the occasion. But I must also say that during those six months I didn’t notice much more activity in Cornaredo: tourists arrived, went to Expo, had a walk in town and that was it. I sense the very positive feedback now: every week at least 10-15 people tell me they’ve come to D’O because they found about us during Expo, and they wanted to return. It’s an important wave, which we must feed». In every sense.

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Carlo Passera

journalist born in 1974, for many years he has covered politics, mostly, and food in his free time. Today he does exactly the opposite and this makes him very happy. As soon as he can, he dives into travels and good food. Identità Golose's editor in chief