Building our future with a Sense of Responsibility

In July, in Milan, Identità Golose 2020 will be the ideal occasion to rethink the Italian and global restaurant industry in light of the Coronavirus shock

by Paolo Marchi

When in the autumn I wrote to Claudio Ceroni that the theme of Identità Golose 2020 would be The Sense of Responsibility, I would have never thought that this concept, these four words would later become the most often written and pronounced words in the world today.

From the presentation: « We must all have in mind the most important value of all, which comes before any law, rule or regulation: a Sense of Responsibility.

The problems affecting the Earth and its inhabitants are such that we can no longer hide in our microcosmos, restaurant or editorial office, winery or pastry shop, passively enduring everything that happens around us. We have a conscience, let’s use it to do immediately what we can and must, even before any law or regulation will impose it as an obligation».

I had this thought because too many people and too many things were losing coherence, were no longer thinking right, within and outside the restaurant industry. And now that in Italy we’re all obliged by law to stay at home, the Sense of Responsibility acquires even more strength if we think of it from the point of view of having Identità Golose in July, from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th.

I’m proud to work with a team whose brains are always working. When in February it was hard to look far ahead without having sad thoughts, we decided to plan ahead and announce that the 16th edition of Identità would be postponed by four months.

And now that three weeks have passed since that day, Tuesday 25th, we’re even more convinced we made the right choice. And we’re not the only ones to think so. Our strength finds nourishment in the fifteen years of Identità in its different shapes, in Milan, in Italy and around the world, including the online world. A long experience to which one must add all the testimonies that have arrived in these weeks. Because changing date on the calendar has no meaning if everyone else, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, experts, public, press, bloggers, all those who experience the congress with us, don’t do the same.

Giulia Corradetti and I have noticed a great of enthusiasm for the July 2020 edition every time we’ve spoken with chefs and pastry chefs, pizzaioli and an ice cream makers. There’s more: the work to confirm almost the entire programme was intertwined with the rescheduling of the programme of the dinner events at the hub of Identità Golose Milano because we didn’t want to miss what was scheduled between March and April in Via Romagnosi. And  the desire to work as a team in the name of high quality dining, everywhere in the world, is such that the three days in March, when redesigned for July, are too short. It’s as if everyone who has been a speaker in Milan now feels the obligation to share their testimony.

And my and our work receives a remarkable support from the work that the sales team guided by Cinzia Benzi is doing at the same time. If the congress were a table, every leg would be crucial for the table to stand. Two would not be enough. The exchange of ideas is so strong that the work of the editorial, sales and communication teams will soon have another task too: re-think also the off-congress events that will no longer comprise only dinners and tastings inside restaurants. Moving from winter to summer also means dining outside, under the stars, having an aperitif while the sun sets, giving space to different ways to enjoy food and wine. Being open to new commercial and tasting possibilities. It’s not just a matter of finding new topics to cover during the lessons.

As Elisa Zanotti, communication manager at Identità Golose, reminded me, one should never think this is just a question of closing and opening again once the storm is over, which is similar to what happens each summer in big cities. For us #IG2020 will be an example of a new-found life and a new one in every sense, because one cannot think that the entire restaurant industry will ever return to be the same.

We will witness an extraordinary renovation if not a rebuilding from scratch, if anything because for many months there will be no foreign clients and it will be hard for those who focused everything on those coming from abroad.

This will be one of the many topics covered in July. Meanwhile, we’re already working to recreate social relationships because the virus is putting to the test even the endurance of our country.

Because of the Sense of Responsibility our first goal will be to recreate the relationships with everyone, give a new, real and deep meaning to the concept of the Human Factor. Without interrupting the ritual that in 2009 Stefano Bonilli had pointed out, an intelligent man we miss very much: «We would all go to Milan to Identità Golose, we will say in a few years’ time, paraphrasing the famous title by Eugenio Scalfari In the evening, we would go to Via Veneto. Because while the works of the first day of the Italian congress dedicated to signature cuisine started under the snow, in Milan, the lights were going off in San Sebastian at a congress, Lo mejor de la gastronomia, that marked a decade».

The mechanism of these events is of seeing and be seeing. It’s a chance to meet, a showcase for sponsors who can show themselves in great shape. And it will continue to be so because there’s a world that must stand again, and return to be desire, passion, intelligence. The cuisines of the world, in the next few months, will all be levelled to zero, and at the beginning of the summer new cards will be distributed. The future hierarchies might not be the same. We’ll discuss this in Milan.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso