IdentitÓ and the New Italian Cuisine

In Milan, in March, 12 stories of talented young chefs, from Abruzzino to the Torsiello brothers. Meanwhile, Michelin also awards the baby chefs

29-12-2016

A souvenir photo of the Abbruzzino family. Left to right, Antonio, Rosetta and Luca Abbruzzino, father, mother, and son-chef, the three pillars at restaurant Antonio Abbruzzino in Catanzaro, one Michelin star in Santo Janni, tel. +39.0961.799008. Luca Abbruzzino will be the first speaker on Sunday 5th March at IdentitÓ Milano within the day dedicated to the New Italian Cuisine

One day, in the middle of the Sixties, Gianni Brera, the greatest Italian sports writer and journalist, on the way back to Milan after Inter FC won a match in Europe, was criticised by their fans because he had foreseen their exclusion. Brera, instead of putting up with it and leave, as most of his colleagues would have done, left his bag and typing machine on the floor and faced those who were closest asking out loud where was his mistake. The answer shut everyone up: «My mistake was making a prediction». In other words, he’d taken a responsibility but this implied, as always the case when you go out on a limb, that you can also be mistaken.

This episode came to my mind because on Sunday 5th March at Identità Milano 2017, one of the conference rooms will be dedicated to a new theme: the New Italian Cuisine. This doesn’t imply we’re not always trying to stress what’s new through the articles in this website and the various editions of the guide, but we believe that the time has come to make this commitment more evident. Rewarding the 20-30 year old chefs in the guide is no longer enough. After all, last year we published with Mondadori Electa 100 Chef x 10 Anni, I 100 chef che hanno cambiato la cucina italiana [100 chefs who have changed Italian cuisine] leaving out those who had obviously already given their best and including those who had potentially more future than past and present in front of them.

Matteo Metullio, chef at Siriola in Alta Badia (Bolzano) and speaker at Identità Milano on 5th March 2017. His theme will bethe New Italian Cuisine

Matteo Metullio, chef at Siriola in Alta Badia (Bolzano) and speaker at Identità Milano on 5th March 2017. His theme will bethe New Italian Cuisine

This is something more and more people are doing, both new projects and those who, like critic Luigi Cremona, have always kept an eye on the future, by organising, for instance, an award for emerging chefs. And it’s no surprise that the bright Espresso guide has an award for the Young Chef of the Year which in 2017 went to Francesco Brutto of Undicesimo Vineria in Treviso, while it was much more surprising that the Michelin guide did the same. At the presentation in November, in Parma, everyone cheered Federico Gallo, chef at Locanda del Pilone in Alba. A substantial turning point.

And then there’s the book published by EDT and written by Stefano Cavallito, Alessandro Lamacchia and Paolo Vizzari who in Giovani & audaci [Young and Brave] curated Ritratti (quasi) veri dei cuochi che stanno rivoluzionando la cucina italiana [(Almost) real portraits of chefs who are revolutionising Italian cuisine]. All this in 10 chapters, with as many masters and 31 disciples, 33 if we count the couples cooking in the same kitchen. A nice idea. I would have preferred a less casual tone and a neater rhythm but I wish there were one book a month like this coming out.

Francesco Brutto, chef at Undicesimo Vineria in Treviso, with Francesca Barberini at the finals of the Birra Moretti Grand Cru award in Milan, in November 2016

Francesco Brutto, chef at Undicesimo Vineria in Treviso, with Francesca Barberini at the finals of the Birra Moretti Grand Cru award in Milan, in November 2016

As for the names, though some may think that in the age of the Internet bloggers, journalists and critics all follow the thoughts of the majority, this is hardly the case. Take Brutto, awarded by L’Espresso: it’s not even mentioned in the Red Guide, forget the stars. Cavallito, Lamacchia and Vizzari trusted those in whom they believe. And these are always the choices we would have made at Identità. Everyone signs their work, time will tell who was right and wrong. We selected 12 stories for Identità 2017 based on a list of some 20 people. Stories, more than chefs, because this won’t be a gospel. On the 5th March we’d like people to think about the reasons that led some chefs in their twenties to chose to spend their life in the kitchen.

They will each have thirty minutes to express their ideas and present a dish that made them realise they were on the right track.

The New Italian Cuisine in 2006, at the second edition of Identità Golose in Milan. Every era has had its series of new brilliant chefs. The ones in the past decades, all without a beard at the time, are perfectly summed up in this photo showing, left to right, Moreno Cedroni, Davide Scabin, Massimo Bottura, Mauro Uliassi, Paolo Marchi, Carlo Cracco and Pietro Leemann. Unfortunately Massimiliano Alajmo, the youngest star in the global history of the Michelin Guide, was already on his way back to Padua and couldn’t take part in the souvenir photo with a group that is still making the history of Italian and global cuisine

The New Italian Cuisine in 2006, at the second edition of Identità Golose in Milan. Every era has had its series of new brilliant chefs. The ones in the past decades, all without a beard at the time, are perfectly summed up in this photo showing, left to right, Moreno Cedroni, Davide Scabin, Massimo Bottura, Mauro Uliassi, Paolo Marchi, Carlo Cracco and Pietro Leemann. Unfortunately Massimiliano Alajmo, the youngest star in the global history of the Michelin Guide, was already on his way back to Padua and couldn’t take part in the souvenir photo with a group that is still making the history of Italian and global cuisine

Among them, there are sons who proved they were better than their fathers, and the sons of starred chefs for whom it will be harder to come out of the inevitable shadow. There’s the young prodigy who’s still acquiring experience abroad, and the one that received a star when still very young. There’s the one who used to have a completely different job and then changed track at 30, and the brothers in love with the restaurant scene but one in the kitchen and one in the dining room. We would have liked to have at least one pizzaiolo and one pastry chef, but it’s impossible to have everything so those we thought of will take part in different moments in different conference rooms.

In little over 2 months, we’ll see, in alphabetical order, as this is not a list, let’s make it clear, Luca Abbruzzino from Catanzaro, Riccardo Canella (restaurant Noma), Martina Caruso from Salina, Caterina Ceraudo from Strongoli (Crotone), Gianluca Gorini from Montiano (Forlì – Cesena), Michelangelo Mammoliti from Guarene (Cuneo), Fabrizio Mellino from Nerano (Naples), Matteo Metullio from San Cassiano (Bolzano), Giovanni and Floriano Pellegrino, both chefs, from Lecce, Marta Scalabrini from Reggio Emilia, Mattia (kitchen) and Alessio (dining room) Spadone from Civitella Casanova (Pescara), finally Cristian (kitchen) and Tomas (dining room) Torsiello from Valva (Salerno).


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