Isabella Potì: my Poland is growing. And I’ve also found a link with Salento...

The Italian-Polish chef went "back home". And discovered a dynamic place, with a connection with South Italy. But badly communicated

19-08-2019
Isabella Potì in the post announcing her speech

Isabella Potì in the post announcing her speech in Poland, in Wroclaw, last June 

I went back to Poland in February, after many years. Poland is the place of my childhood, the most beautiful moment I can remember. I went back because I needed to feel at home, in harmony with places and people.

It was very cold, and I remembered this rather well. Many of the things that were sleeping inside me had changed, but some have remained the same.

The slow rhythms reminded me of my South. Some elements of the traditional poor cuisine, which are the foundations of my culture, I’ve seen them done by my mother, my grandmother, and everything came back to my mind very vividly.

Potì in Poland

Potì in Poland

We have two cellars at home. Inside we keep all that’s necessary to "survive" the harsh Polish winter: I’m referring to the famous fermentations. These processes, these techniques remind me of what we do in Southern Italy, in my Lecce, with preserves.

Compared to when I was a child, I have a greater maturity and professional awareness, I have discovered that here too they ferment fish, in a similar way to what we do in Salento. In Poland preserves are made in brine, whereas we use garum, preserving in salt. They make herrings in brine, it’s extraordinary! It’s only one example of the many analogies that can be found in two places so far apart, geographically, but culturally close to one another.

I remember an uncontaminated Poland, surrounded by nature; my grandfather would hunt wild boars, he then made smoked cured meat himself. In fact, this is one of the hardest memories of Poland from my childhood; the smell of the smoking got into my nostrils and in my taste memory. It was marked inside me, and to this day I bring it in my cuisine. All this is connected with one of the most interesting aspects of Polish food culture: self-production. Here everyone makes food themselves.

After my first visit in February I returned to Poland a few months later, in June, when For Solutions and The Best Chef Awards asked me to give a speech. So, I took part in an event where I presented my experience as an example of successful communication through the means we now have available: social networks. On this occasion I discovered a side of Poland with that extra oomph, with a strong desire to take a challenge. And be known. Of enhancing its value. Because through the right communication channel you can go outside, communicate with the world. I’m a strong believer that to do so you need a guide, a model that will inspire you and from whom you can draw the best.

Nobody, outside Poland, knows what’s happening there. And so, if something is happening, as I believe, perhaps they’re not communicating it at all, or perhaps not in the right way.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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