Contaminazioni: ideas and protagonists from the new section of the congress

Cuisine is not the result of walls and bans, but of travels and connections. For the first time at Identità Milano, eight speakers will discuss this

The protagonists of

The protagonists of "Contaminazioni", Fusions, at Identità Milano, in Sala Blu 2, on Saturday 23rd March 2019. Top row, left to right: Jeremy ChanJosé del Castillo and Antonia Klugmann. Middle row: Simon Press, Matias Perdomo and Roy Caceres. Bottom row: Yoji Tokuyoshi, Francesco Apreda and Mariano Guardianelli

«Even though we’re living in a time when everyone is ready to close themselves off and to ban, we must restate with strength that cooking is a result of exchange and knowledge. Of accidental and casual connections. Of bridges and discussions, not walls and deafness». The words of Paolo Marchi are the reason behind “Contaminazioni”, a new section of the Identità Golose congress, whose 15th edition will take place in Milan on March 23rd-25th.

South American chefs cooking Italian food, female chefs on the edge between two cultures, Chinese-Canadians following Nigerian influences, Italians with Indian tones, Creole and Peruvian connections, Japanese chefs who write in Italian… These are some of the speakers scheduled in Sala Blu 2, on Saturday 23rd, from 10.45 am to 6.30 pm, 8 protagonists from whom fusion is the reason for cooking.

«We thought of this format», Marchi points out, «because blinded by absurd nationalisms, it is too easy to forget that tomato or coffee, which we often assume as emblems of Italian cuisine, were in fact born in other continents. There will be chefs who express the region where they live, and professionals who decided to take roots far away from their own. Roots should not be considered as a permanent condemnation, but can be changed on the go».

Matias Perdomo and Simon Press

Matias Perdomo and Simon Press

There’s a small regret: «There are so many fertile examples of fusion, in Italian kitchens and abroad, that by choosing 8 speakers we had to leave out many more, equally deserving. Just to stick with the topic of Japan and Milan, we’ll have Tokuyoshi; but other excellent interpreters such as Takeshi Iwai of Ada e Augusto or the guys from Iyo would have also deserved a place. The moment will come for everyone». So here are the 2019 speakers in detail.

10.45 am
Matias Perdomo and Simon PressContraste, Milan
Respectively from Uruguay and Argentina, they work on the two opposite sides of the same pass since 2006. After the splendour of Pont de Ferr, in September 2015 they opened Contraste with maître and sommelier Thomas Piras. «My cuisine is 100% Italian», Perdomo explained some time ago. But his South American garra is obvious.

11.30 am
Mariano GuardianelliAbocar due cucine, Rimini
Also born in Argentina, Guardianelli then moved to Romagna. «He leaves a strong imprint in his crossbred dishes, with a very recognisable style»,Martina Liverani wrote for Identità Golose, «creativity, technique, the tradition of Romagna on a South American graft. And there’sjalapeñopeppers in the filling for cappelletti!».

12.15 pm
Antonia KlugmannL’Argine, Vencò, Dolegna del Collio, Gorizia
Born in Trieste, of Ukrainian-Jewish background, for Klugmann fusion is part of her hometown, a crossroads of the most varied civilizations. And it’s also part of the name of her restaurant, on the border between two countries, between the West and the old Iron Curtain, West and East, Italy and Slovenia. Travelling, borders, mixing.

Jeremy Chan and Iré Hassan-Odukale, Ikoyi, London (photo london.eater.com)

Jeremy Chan and Iré Hassan-OdukaleIkoyi, London (photo london.eater.com)

2.10 pm
Jeremy ChanIkoyi, London 
Born in Hong Kong to Chinese father and Canadian mother, he’s lived in Canada, the UK and the US and ended up in London. He opened Ikoyi in the West End with his business partner, Nigerian Ire Hassan-Odukale, managing the dining room, and got the first Michelin star for a restaurant with a strong African influence. 

3 pm
Francesco ApredaImàgo, Rome
Neapolitan, he’s the chef of the restaurant inside Hotel Hassler in Rome. Since 2004 he’s also the chef of two restaurants in India: Vetro in Mumbai and Travertino in New Delhi, both of the Oberoichain. «It’s impossible not to fall in love with the spices, the markets selling lovely food, with biryani rice and tandoori chicken», he once told us. His love for the endless traditions of the Subcontinent is such that he adds some happy Indian notes in Rome as well.

3.50 pm
Roy CaceresMetamorfosi, Rome
Colombian from Bogotá, he’s been quietly working  in Italy for many years now. His explosive flavours speak for him instead. The consecration arrived at his restaurant in Rome, opened in 2011, and praised by critics and clients. In the name of the restaurant there’s the destiny of the chef, on the edge between two worlds.

José del Castillo (photo from gestion.pe)

José del Castillo (photo from gestion.pe)

4.40 pm
José del CastilloIsolina, Lima
We’ll listen to the adventures of this Peruvian chef, an ex journalist who fell in love with cooking. We’re speaking of fusion because in his dishes Peruvian and Creole traditions coexist, and because Peruvian cuisine is the one that has most enlarged the horizons of the world, in the past few years.

5.30 pm
Yoji TokuyoshiTokuyoshi, Milan
“Contaminazioni” will end with a lesson with this guy from Tottori, in Japan, who’s been cooking in Italy for 14 years now: he spent 9 as Massimo Bottura’s sous-chef at Osteria Francescana; since February 2015 he’s at the helm of the restaurant named after him, one Michelin star. He recently opened Alter Ego in Tokyo, which “mirrors” his Milanese restaurant. Japanese, home and away.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

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Gabriele Zanatta


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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