No other food before veg

A discussion with Oldani, Leemann and Moriarty: vegetarianism, a necessary choice for the future

16-09-2015
Final photo of the participants in the round table

Final photo of the participants in the round table organised by The Vegetarian Chance at Identità Expo S.Pellegrino. Left to right, Clement Vachon, Davide Oldani, Mark Moriarty, Carlo Modonesi, Pietro Leemann and the founder of The Vegetarian Chance, Gabriele Eschenazi

Is it an ethical, healthy or necessary choice? Whatever your opinion, your future is veg. Were we to sum up, this was the result of the round table held at Identità Expo, within the day organised at Expo 2015 by The Vegetarian Chance.

The speakers were very big experts: Pietro Leemann, Marc Moriarty, Davide Oldani and professor Carlo Modonesi.

The latter had to reply to the welcome speech given by the author of this piece on behalf of Paolo Marchi and which expressed Identità’s position: «We’re omnivorous, but we consider your battle favourably because we’re interested in having good and healthy food just like you are».

«De gustibus non est disputandum – said the biologist – But there’s an objective issue with collective consumption: every scientific congress hopes for a rapid conversion of humanity towards a diet that is poor in meat, because the current model is not sustainable».

This was followed by a series of both enlightening and worrying data: from 1961 till 2010 meat consumption increased by 600%, in particular because of the adoption of typical Western food styles by a small part of Asians (though they’re still very many).

Eating meat basically means: 1) choosing an unfavourable ratio in the ecologic food pyramid (10K kilos of vegetables feed either 1000 kilos of humans or 1000 kilos of herbivorous animals, which feed only 100 kilos of humans); 2) water is a precious good, in a world that is more and more arid. In order to have 100 grams of steak you need 4,500 litres of water, while to obtain 100 grams of fruit, you only need 70; 3) meat consumption immensely increases the emission of greenhouse gases, because of breeding farms; 4) the animal feed industry requires very large monocultures of cereals and legumes, which in their turn lead to the use of incredible quantities of pesticides.

Fine dining is slowly becoming aware of this scientific evidence, said Pietro Leemann: «The great challenge is not protesting with our flag, but stimulating a general reflection. Famous chefs such as us have the duty to give a good example».

The vertiginous increase in global meat consumption
The vertiginous increase in global meat consumption

Luckily the new generations of chefs seem to be more careful, as proven by Marc Moriarty who for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 presented a dish entirely made with celeriac which in fact won the competition. “Cuddled” by Clement Vachon, international relations manager at Sanpellegrino, the young Irish chef stressed how the choice of presenting a vegetarian dish derived from his desire to demonstrate that you can obtain something remarkable from a simple ingredient. And was also based on food cost, thinking of the theme of Expo and food waste: «Turbot costs 26 euros per kilo, celeriac 50 cents».

«This is pop cuisine!», joined Oldani, who highlighted how there’s a big error in communication when dividing the world into good vegetarians and bad meat-eaters, creating fences, creating sects: «At D’O, I initially had 8 meat dishes out of 28. Today I only have one or two tops, and this was neither a choice I expressed nor imposed on the client. On the contrary, it was a gradual journey that met the requests of the guests». An intelligent approach, a format worth following.


Sections

Identità Expo

Activities, ideas and protagonists in Identità Golose's location inside the 2015 World Fair