Identità will be back in September. It will be a completely new event. And the relaunch will be… explosive

What's behind the announcement of the 2021 live edition, and what will be the novelties, in the context of a strong new start for the industry: we're discussing this with Ceroni, co-founder at Identità

12-04-2021
Claudio Ceroni, founder with Paolo Marchi of Id

Claudio Ceroni, founder with Paolo Marchi of Identità Golose, on the stage of the 2019 congress, the last that was held in presence. The next one is scheduled from the 25th to the 27th of September 2021

Identità Golose, the Milan congress, returns. The sixteenth edition will take place from Saturday 25th to Monday 27th of September, as we announced here a few days ago. It returns, and this is in no way banal. In fact, it's like a ray of sunshine passing through the thick fog that has enveloped us for a while now. Among the many enthusiastic messages we have received after the announcement, there's one particularly significant which leads us to some thinking. The author is our Sonia Gioia: "How do they say? Audacity is the virtue of the strong. I'm crossing my fingers and all that can be crossed. Viva Identità". So the wait, the joy (nomen omen...), the acknowledgement of the courage and even of some audacity... Behind the decision, however, there's lots of thinking too, a careful assessment, an evaluation of when and how. We discussed this with Claudio Ceroni, co-founder with Paolo Marchi of Identità, back in 2005, and entrepreneurial engine of the congress and of all our activities.

Here's how he begins: «We've reached this decision following all the calvary of the past few months, which for a long time were all about "nobody can make any plans". It's still not over, of course: yet the data available seem to offer some hope. Most of all, there's a concrete and reasonable hope that the vaccine campaign will reach its peak before the summer, as in many other countries. And indeed it is significant that our authorities are still not showing this explicitly. So we think that in late September, even though the situation might not be completely normal, at least it will be possible to have a significant live event both in terms of content and of participants».

THE DESIRE TO PARTICIPATE – There's one doubt: are people willing (or rather will they be willing) to participate in live events? Ceroni replies: «We recently noticed how a digital event – in our case the presentation of the Guida Identità Golose 2021see here – which allowed for the 30-40 people receiving and giving the awards to participate safely, produced for everyone a real emotion. It was as we were once again able to do something that we had been deprived of not just for little over a year, but for decades, or at least this was the general feeling. So here's the answer to your question: what happened gives us a tangible sign of how huge this desire is».

THE NEW START WILL BE EXPLOSIVE – People want to participate. And it also seems they have a strong desire to go back to restaurants, to be at the helm of their life, once more. Ceroni is openly optimistic: «I'm strongly convinced, and I hope many share my opinion, that if in September businesses will really be able to open normally, then the new start will be explosive, immediate. There will be no stages, perhaps still affected by uncertainty. No: it's as if someone has pulled the plug. By putting it back in, the energy will return immediately». This idea is based on some sound motivations: «One unique aspect of the Covid-19 crisis is that, unlike other events like wars of financial catastrophes, it has not destroyed the physical and organisational assets that take years to rebuild. Of course, the pandemic has caused many people and many businesses to die, and has caused countless damages. But when it will be possible, for those who have been able to resist, the process of restart will be immediate: it's like what is already happening in the United States. Hence our commitment and that of other professionals in the industry is to be ready. It will be a challenge. This scenario doesn't only apply to restaurants, but also to other industries that, like ours, have been in lockdown, like art, culture, and music».

THE DIGITAL HERITAGE – In 2020 with Identità on the road we have experimented the "digital congress" format for the first time. It was necessary at the time, but should it be put aside, or will it be precious in the future too? Ceroni: «I'm convinced that the best digital experiences will continue, we will bring them with us. The reason is simple: what can be better than to organise a large event in person, with all its features – emotions, passion, relationships... – and at the same time present the highlights through the digital events we have tested, and which would allow all those who could not experience it personally, to have access if not to the experience itself, at least to its content? Putting together the two things will be the challenge of the future. It's like with hybrid cars: we're still not ready to move to a totally electric car, so this type of vehicle allows you to use petrol too, so that it can join the emotions of the former with the advantages of the latter. I believe there will be an intermediate stage in which we will have to take the best out of every element available».

CONGRESSES CHANGE. HOW DO CONGRESSES CHANGE? – Nothing will be as before, even in the world of cooking congresses. «These difficult months have accelerated an evolution in our industry too. We must be open to innovation and to all the tools that can foster new creativity. We will not be able to start from where we stopped: this because, even though the restart will be immediate, as I expect, we still have lost something in the meantime. And because other elements have appeared, and some are about to do so. Those who will present things from the past, will look old». Hence: the digital will become an essential part of the congress, completing the live event. And there's more: «Personal experiences, emotions, will need to be more and more prominent».

Paolo Marchi and Claudio Ceroni, founders at Identità Golose

Paolo Marchi and Claudio Ceroni, founders at Identità Golose

THIS IS WHY THE THEME IS "BUILDING A NEW FUTURE: WORK" – Of course we must end by mentioning the theme of the 2021 congress (presented here by Paolo Marchi). Ceroni explains: «Work is a crucial theme because our industry has been among the most affected. Human capital is a precious resource for any entrepreneur. In particular in the restaurant industry, it will be very difficult to recreate that closeness that some teams had already reached, given these teams have often become poorer in terms of expertise and talent in the past few months, while the quality of work worsened, which is also very important. We must recover these elements, and safeguard them for the future. I'm referring not just to professional roles, but to people capable of expressing their talent and then convey even more talents, and to the producers of food who are at the beginning of the supply chain. Putting together producers, restaurateurs, hotel and tourism professionals, this chain makes for 16% of the national GDP. It is clear now that a large part of the food production industry has suffered greatly from the stop to restaurants: this shows the strong link, and how the restaurant industry influences the success of the others that help it function. For years at Identità we've preached how chefs were the best ambassadors of a region and of its finest products. Some thought this was just a slogan, that we were exaggerating the role of restaurants. Today's reality shows that we were right».

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso