Building New Memories

Presenting the theme of Identità Golose 2019, reinforcing the Human Factor. Starting on Saturday 23rd, the first spring edition

Massimo Bottura in a photo by Brambilla-Serrani

Massimo Bottura in a photo by Brambilla-Serrani on the stage of Identità Golose 2018. He has had a unique role in updating our traditions 

Enough of winter. For the first time since Claudio Ceroni and I started to think and organise Identità Golose, the congress in Milan will not take place in the winter. Edition number 15 is postponed a couple of weeks, leaving winter behind and taking its first steps into the spring. The event is scheduled from Saturday 23rd March to Monday 25th, again at MiCo, the congress centre Via Gattamelata. We’ve decided the dates, the theme, which follows the one we celebrated last March, as explained in the following presentation. Enjoy.

The Human Factor, the theme of edition 2018 of Identità Golose in Milan, Milano,is as important, globally, as ever. When we chose it, we thought of the Internet galaxy as opposed to daily life and to every form of human relationship, with a focus on cooking and restaurants.And this theme is even stronger and more current now, if we think of the tension between countries and people, with the free movement of goods and people as menaced and compromised as ever by biased interests, by those who put their interest first, before any other common consideration.

Margherita sbagliata, the emblem-dish by Franco Pepe, master pizzaiolo from Caiazzo (Caserta)

Margherita sbagliata, the emblem-dish by Franco Pepe, master pizzaiolo from Caiazzo (Caserta)

We are losing the desire, the patience to understand those who don’t have our same ideas, and this will soon threat cooking too, because all we eat is the result of contaminations, sometimes centennial, as well as of intuitions and new ideas. The strength of the human factor is explosive and embraces an element which we chose as the theme for the 2019 edition, on March 23-25th. Everything will focus on the concept of memory, in a way that recalls a famous quote by composer Gustav Mahler: «Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire».

Raviolo Aperto, Gualtiero Marchesi’s most famous dish 

Raviolo ApertoGualtiero Marchesi’s most famous dish 

Fire as a source of energy, capable of generating new fire, new passions. Precisely the kind of things in which Italians excel. We are exceptional creators of new shapes and ideas, in the kitchen and most of all in other fields. With one big difference: with pots and eating, tradition wins, and mostly without a critical attitude to adapt to the time at least in terms of cooking procedures and sauces. No matter how many new dishes we may create and know, most distrust the new, with a resistance to novelty that is hard to notice in other fields.

The truth is dishes are a safe refuge, always ready to welcome our dearest memories, the echoes of people and places we’ve known, experienced and loved. The most innovative chefs and pastry-chefs know this well, and they’re eternally forced to come to terms with the marvels of the past. And often end up justifying themselves.

Verdure essiccate by Carlo Cracco, the emblem dish of the 2007 edition of Identità Golose in Milan

Verdure essiccate by Carlo Cracco, the emblem dish of the 2007 edition of Identità Golose in Milan

And when we say that tradition is a successful innovation, it’s as if we became aware of the creative process, made of many small, and sometimes large, steps. One attempt after the other, change this and change that, before reaching the right balance. After all, when a chef serves something new, he’s trying to give us a new memory. What today is a novelty, often, following success, becomes a tradition and scares no more. In fact, it comforts. 

Building New Memories is what chefs, pastry-chefs, pizzaioli, artisans, ice cream makers do. They think and design new dishes, in the hope they will become New Collective Memories.

Translated by Slawka G. Scarso