September will be the month of Identità Milano, from Saturday 25th to Monday 27th

The 16th edition of the congress in Milan will be focused on the employment emergency in the restaurant industry, giving even more importance to article 1 of the Italian Constitution

Questo non è un gioco, è lavoro" by Matias Perdomo and Simon Press, chefs at Contraste in Milan.This dish is representative of the 16th edition of the International Congress of Identità Golose Milan.  Photo by Brambilla-Serrani.

Article 1 of the Constitution is very clear: «Italy is a democratic Republic based on work».

And work, and how to get out of the employment emergency, will be the main topic of Identità Golose 2021, in a country like Italy where the Constitution gives a prominent place to employment.

If we won't first solve this dramatic issue, if we won't give back to women the professional dignity they lost with the crisis, if young people will still be lingering in an economic limbo, talking about what food we will have once we're out of the pandemic, whether people will no longer want innovation or tradition, gourmet pizza or pizza margherita, spoon desserts or cakes, fish, meat or vegetables, gourmet gelato or classic flavours, will all be pointless. The same applies to talking about wine and service, in restaurants as well as in hotels. Jobs must come first!

But when will things go back to normal? Always too late, but we cannot succumb to sadness, or stop without thinking. We must be ready to run when the possible rebirth will come.

It's as if we haven't lived in 2020. Our memories go back to the year before that, to 2019, but we either let the past help us build a real new future, or we will gradually stop because of lack in stimuli, like an almost empty tank of adrenaline. While thousands and thousands of businesses can go bankrupt in a moment, while town centres are completely changed after months and months of work from home and more or less well-designed and sustainable lockdowns, while the vaccination plan needs time, cooks and patrons must now think of how to survive the emergency and make sure that the sense of responsibility that is guiding many people can become an economic and financial mantra for every catering business owner.

Paolo Marchi and Claudio Ceroni, founder of Identità Golose

Paolo Marchi and Claudio Ceroni, founder of Identità Golose

What we need, after the shock of the pandemic, is a few, but authentic certainties. In terms of food and restaurants, it's not a question of what will be most successful, but of being aware that these certainties will most of all have to do with quality of life, and job security, and jobs and pay that respect people's dignity. We must eat well so as not to get ill, and in this sense doctors and nutritionists will become the chefs' best counsellors, but also we must also learn to coexist with covid with intelligence and discipline so that we can work and give jobs because you can't go far if restaurants are open on and off and you can only hire very few people between dining room, kitchen and cellar.

And let's hope our government will also take this chance to use some intelligence and structure, and start understanding the diverse needs and characteristics of different restaurants. Let's hope this is a time to rediscover restaurants not only as places where can stay together safely, but also where talents, careers and local excellences are cultivated and preserved. These are priceless goods that cannot be sacrificed for the sake of sloppiness and incompetence.

While the planet will need to get used to these new conditions, to understand when we will be able to open without danger, every country, every people will find it easier to focus on themselves, on their history. We should not risk becoming more selfish and self-centred. Instead, it will be crucial that every country draws strength from its excellences and its skills to help itself and help others, and thus end one of the darkest chapters in the history of humanity.

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