Five of the chefs who participated in Cook the Mountain a few days ago: Giorgio Ravelli, Rodolfo Guzman, Norbert Niederkofler, Ivan Milani and Giancarlo Morelli. Story (and photos) by Lisa Casali for Identità Golose
«Nature is messy, chaotic and dangerous, not just green, idyllic landscapes and beauty. Mountains are a hard to decipher ecosystem. Don’t stop in front of details, such as the name of a plant, or vague thoughts, but try to go in deep, try to understand biodiversity”. Forest scientist Mauro Tomasi, an expert in mountain flora exhorted us with these words at his debut at Cook the Mountain, a space for creative work so that friends, chefs and experts meet up and create new ideas around a sole common thought, that is to say the understanding, safeguarding and development of local biodiversity, starting from the very mountain habitats, unique places that share similar characteristics, criticalities, needs and unique products around the world.
Indeed we could analyse what’s happening in the world depending on altitude and we would find surprising analogies in terms of climate change, loss of biodiversity, ecosystem complexity but also unique culinary traditions.
Giancarlo Morelli in search of mountain herbs
Alessandro Garofalo, founder at Idee Associate guided the brain storming sessions through a “multi level production”, that is to say a creative technique that facilitates group work by making ideas on different themes emerge, quickly and productively. Paolo Ferretti, founder at HMC, for many years beside Niederkofler and a promoter himself of this project, is instead in charge of transforming these ideas and thoughts into concrete projects. The ultimate goal is to share a new development model on a global scale, that will be socially, culturally, economically and environmentally sustainable starting from the very mountain communities of the world, from the Andes to the Rocky Mountains, from the Pyrenees to the Alps. The experience of course had to include food too, with a series of lunches and dinners prepared by multiple hands following this spirit of sharing and exchange of local products which where often picked by the chefs themselves at the back of the kitchen at Rifugio Graziani, at 2000 metres of altitude in Val Pusteria.
Niederkofler’s Enrosadira 2016 and Guzman’s trout
I observed as an intruder at the back of the kitchen as Rodolfo Guzman (Boragò – Santiago del Chile) smoked his trout, kneeling in front of the fire, using just instinct and his love for the wild as his instruments. The result: a perfectly cooked trout with the aroma of wood and freshly picked and toasted leaves.
The dishes in the various meals were paired with biodynamic wines by Alois Lageder and wines by Ferrari. At the end of the three days, almost 300 ideas emerged, of which at least a dozen are worth pursuing. In order to follow their development keep an eye on this group of chefs and follow the next edition of Care’s which is to take place early next year.
Tecniche, ingredienti e iniziative della ristorazione attenta all'ambiente e agli ideali di Expo 2015, viste da Lisa Casali
Environmental scientist and sustainable cooking expert, she's the author of blog Ecocucina on D di Repubblica and of 5 books including “Tutto fa brodo”, "Autoproduzione in cucina" and "Cucinare in lavastoviglie"