Identità Milano enjoys the trust of monsieur Alain: «We're getting out of it, restaurants are back in business»

Ducasse at the congress, in his role of president of les Collectionneurs, an example of association that goes beyond borders, creating an ambitious project of educational exchange

06-10-2021
Alain Ducasse on the stage of Identità Milano 20

Alain Ducasse on the stage of Identità Milano 2021. All the photos are from Brambilla-Serrani

«If many of the Italians and Italian restaurateurs who travel around the world loved Italy as much as monsieur Alain Ducasse loves it, we would be the richest country in the world». With these words Paolo Marchi welcomed Ducasse  on the most welcoming stage of Identità Milano, in the special role of brand president of les Collectionneurs, the association of 585 among the most important restaurants and hotels in 15 countries. With monsieur le chef, there was President Xavier Alberti and Carole Pourchet, general manager of the same association. A reunion to talk about an association that has as its forte “nurturing differences, becoming rich with other people's experiences” through travel, but also a celebration, given that the rendezvous arrives after almost two years of forced stillness due to Covid-19.

Alain Ducasse, in the centre, and with him left to right Xavier Alberti, Carole Pourchet, Paolo Marchi and Cinzia Benzi

Alain Ducasse, in the centre, and with him left to right Xavier Alberti, Carole Pourchet, Paolo Marchi and Cinzia Benzi

Ducasse exulted, as he took the microphone, stressing his love for Italy: «We're getting out of this, and this makes me happy. European travellers have found once again our houses, our maisons and are ready to share theirs. We are back in business and with les Collectionneurs we tried to offer the necessary support. We're on the right track, I'm reassured. I hold Italy very dear; I've missed you a lot. I will be back travelling in this marvellous country». A declaration of intent too, which nullifies any bickering between Italy and France, and builds sound bridges that are ready to be crossed.

Xavier Alberti addressed instead the theme of the congress, namely work. «The crisis we've been through leaves its mark in terms of the transformation and acceleration of some processes, especially with regards to restaurants and hotels, and the difficulty of hiring – he pointed out. – It's a crucial topic. For les Collectionneurs the human component is very important, the meeting with teams and collaborators is the soul of each place but also of the shared project we represent. We have three challenges ahead of us: the first is having to pay people what they deserve; the second, not in order of priority, is finding a work-life balance; the third, perhaps the most important, is responding to the young generations who ask us the reasons, the values and the meaning of this profession».

These goals are as difficult as they are ambitious, and they apply to each one of the associated establishments as well as to the association as a whole, where we can share experiences, and give value to the most precious of capitals, the human capital. This is why a project within the project is born, called Planet C, which allows the different teams to pass from one establishment to the next, enriching the training and reinforcing the know-how. «If our houses are open –Ducasse stressed – differences can be nurtured».

An opening that pulls down even more borders, going beyond the primary vocations of every business – be it a restaurant or a hotel – and opening it to other fields. «We want to create a music festival. And we expect to develop various services, including a system that supports travellers on themes like respecting the planet, a daily priority in the agenda of les Collectionneurs together with the valorisation of the human and experiential heritage». This was how madame Pourchet ended, the programmatic manifesto of a new start that leaves behind a long loss of experiences, a forced stop in the building of memories.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso