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First: do not waste

In the intense lesson given by Bottura and Atala in New York, chefs are asked to take on their responsibilities

Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, Modena) and

Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, Modena) and Alex Atala (Dom, Sao Paolo, Brazil) enraptured the participants in the lesson at Eataly Flatiron’s Scuola with a series of important concepts and delicious food based on the theme of food waste. With them, in the picture, Melissa Clark of the New York Times, the author with the two chefs of a live streaming of the first lesson with a very large audience

«If a chef receives a lot, sooner or later the time will come for him to give back». Massimo Bottura opens Identità New York day 2 with a strong exhortation on the duties of a chef, never as in the spotlight as these days. «We have an unprecedented responsibility: giving a precise answer to the wastes in the world, we can’t just timidly participate in the debate. Beauty is no longer beauty if it isn’t ethical».

Which naturally led to summing up his two experiences with Refettorio: «Rio was the most shocking and incredible experience in my life. It’s the result of the support of many people who accepted our requests for help without hesitation. It is only this way that we can reduce the 1.3 billion tons of food we throw away every year. It is only this way that we can show the world how to avoid waste».

The lesson replicates what the chef had anticipated live to the cameras of the New York Times, one hour earlier, from the same backbench at Eataly’s Scuola. Passatelli made with left overs from a pizza marinara. The sparkle behind the recipe: «Once a week, my daughter organises a pizza party in Washington. They always leave plenty of leftovers like this. Hence I had an idea and I told my sous chef: ‘Davide, why don’t we turn pizza leftovers in passatelli?».

Passatelli made with leftovers from a pizza marinara, in tomato water. The dish presented by Massimo Bottura at Identità New York edition n. 7

Passatelli made with leftovers from a pizza marinara, in tomato water. The dish presented by Massimo Bottura at Identità New York edition n. 7

Here’s the preparation, step by step: «Process some very ripe tomatoes for 3-4 minutes in the Thermomix, then strain them so as to obtain the tomato water. Put aside all the left over pulp. The passatelly made with left over pizza marinara, hence without cheese, are dried and then grated. Add the remaining tomato pulp to the powder, plus dry oregano, oil from anchovies preserved in oil, an egg, Grana Padano together with Parmigiano. Knead the passatelli, then warm up everything to 60°C in the previously obtained limpid tomato water, dish out and finish with some drops of garlic oil, oregano and chilli pepper».

The audience hmmms, their spoons already at hand: «You can get the same result in an American version too, with some bagel passatelli. Pair them with salmon, cream cheese, chives, sesame, poppy seeds: you crush them then make a broth with some smoked salmon skin». The pizza passatelli are very effective in that their finish spreads the flavour of pizza. «This recipe is like a mask. It hides behind a very Italian symbol. Centuries of history compressed in a mouthful».

Brisket with bacuri and pickled onions by Alex Atala

Brisket with bacuri and pickled onions by Alex Atala

After Massimo Bottura, Alex Atala, the chef who broadened the possibilities of Brazilian cuisine behind the pass at D.O.M. in Sao Paolo brandished the microphone. Another great practical take on the “Don’t waste the planet” leitmotiv. Which in his case draws from the endless biodiversity of the Amazon, which has always been the chef’s favourite and anthropological source of inspiration (the chef also has Palestinian and Italian origins).

«Today we drink wine from all around the world», he pressed the audience with Bottura listening at the back, «we know everything about terroir, grapes, maceration. But 30 years ago we knew nothing. Now we need to make the same cultural action with food. For instance, if we want to respect animals, all animals, after killing them we must use every single part of them».

The dish is delicious («deliciousness is our unquestionable goal») Brisket with bacuri (a fruit), pickled onions, black, pink and white pepper, chive flowers. A very simple recipe, covered however by a demiglass of bones and chicken sweetbreads, which requires 3 days to prepare: «It requires time, and thus money, but this waste shouldn’t scare us chefs».

At the end, Peruvian Virgilio Martinez, chef at Central in Lima, number one in South America, also appeared. He’s in New York promoting his book

At the end, Peruvian Virgilio Martinez, chef at Central in Lima, number one in South America, also appeared. He’s in New York promoting his book

The chef then lists a series of simple examples of recipes made by recuperating ingredients which he applied in the past few years, from mackerel skin to mullet roe. And offers guests a tasting of fermented honey («it’s bees’ poo but nobody is ever as scandalised as when we serve ants in a dish»), an important symbol because it puts bees under the spotlight, «they’re the sentinels of the planet’s health: if the environment is polluted, they won’t produce honey».

The lesson’s grand finale requires Bottura’s presence on stage. And, surprise, Virgilio Martinez, who’s in New York presenting his book by Phaidon and dropped by at Eataly’s Scuola following a tweet by Paolo Marchi. Among the hugging, Identità ends, with the surprise dish by the chef from Modena and his team: «Not only Identità Golose, but our original identities». The identities that consign us to the destiny written today during the lesson in New York.

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Gabriele Zanatta

born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, coordinator of Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook since 2007, he is a contributor for several magazines and teaches History of gastronomy and Culinary global trends into universities and institutes. 
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