Don’t waste the planet

Identità America week in Chicago and New York. Sustainability is the watchword

01-10-2016
In just a few years’ time The Bean sculpture has

In just a few years’ time The Bean sculpture has become the emblem of Chicago. Its real name is Cloud Gate, but nobody uses it. Designed by Anish Kapoor, it was raised in Millennium Park between 2004 and 2006, thanks to 168 plates united by invisible welding. It weighs more or less 100 tons and is 10 metres by 20 by 13 wide. Its inner arch is 3.7 metres tall and was called the belly button. The bean has been a part of every trip of Identità to Chicago

Our programme at Identità, playing an away game between the Great Lakes and then Manhattan, includes the third edition of Identità Chicago last weekend, and the seventh of Identità New York from 4th till 6th November. It’s the first time The Second City after New York, that’s how they call Chicago in America, has opened our away game. It’s logical.

Since going abroad is an important step, you either do it properly, with large steps, or it’s best to avoid small steps taken to take aim. Say Boston, Philadelphia or Chicago, and one day that will never come, New York. Manhattan must be faced immediately, after all, all those who left Europe in search for fortune always arrived at the mouth of the river Hudson. Why should we do differently?

And after New York, the rest of the United States, with the goal of California, San Francisco and Los Angeles. If it were just a matter of talented minds and chefs, it would be San Francisco rather than Los Angeles. Seen from Italy, they almost seem close. There’s little over 600 km between them, like going from Milan to Rome, but everything’s different. Yet there’s time. Let’s focus on reality.

Chicago, act three, and New York, act seven, are enjoying a big shuffle in the cards. At Eataly, close to the Magnificent Mile and the Loop, we had two lessons last Saturday and a lunch yesterday. Giancarlo Perbellini worked with Sarah Grueneberg, a rising star in the local restaurant scene. Then it had been the turn of Carlo Cracco and Michael Tusk, one of the most famous and awarded chefs in San Francisco.

How about the theme? It will be the same in both cities: “Don’t waste the planet”, don’t impoverish it with senseless choices, support it, don’t consume it. We have this world, we won’t have more than this. Once only few people realised it, today we no longer have alibis. The world is a finite space and we must act accordingly so as to preserve the planet, its resources and inhabitants. There’s no doubt and the restaurant industry is not a world by itself. In fact, for the very reason it is essential in everyone’s daily life, it will have to come to terms more and more with the planet’s impoverishment. Chefs, pastry-chefs, artisans, producers will need to be more and more intelligent and take care of every detail to prolong Earth’s life.

Franco Pepe during a lesson at Identità Expo in the spring of 2015 in Milan

Franco Pepe during a lesson at Identità Expo in the spring of 2015 in Milan

Chefs, the cover-men of the 21st century, must become virtuous examples infecting the population. Influencers are also essential because they can set an example. Every day we see how an action taken at the right time can become viral, an imperative for millions and millions of human beings. Their recipes now have an important meaning if they are connected with reality and prove they’re not about showing skills for the sake of it.

Wednesday 4th October will be the first day in the Big Apple and the debut of pizza in our trips across the ocean, thanks to a joined lesson by Franco Pepe of Pepe In Grani in Caiazzo (Caserta) and Lidia Bastianich, the unquestioned queen of Italian cuisine in America. On Wednesday 5th, Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana, restaurant number one in the world in 2016, will confront Brazilian Alex Atala from San Paolo, the chef who stimulated the new cuisine of an entire continent.

It’s the evening of 13th June 2016: in New York Osteria Francescana from Modena was just proclaimed the best restaurant in the world according to the World's 50 Best. Massimo Bottura and his wife Lara Gilmore burst with joy. We’ll see them again in a few days’ time taking part in Identità New York

It’s the evening of 13th June 2016: in New York Osteria Francescana from Modena was just proclaimed the best restaurant in the world according to the World's 50 Best. Massimo Bottura and his wife Lara Gilmore burst with joy. We’ll see them again in a few days’ time taking part in Identità New York

That night instead we’ll celebrate the debut of Niko Romito at Eataly New York: the chef from Casadonna in Castel di Sangro, Abruzzo, 3 Michelin stars just like the colleague from Modena, will work with Matthew Kenney, one of the most famous chefs in the world when it comes to raw diet and plant-based philosophy (a strictly vegan approach), who was already praised at the latest edition of the Identità congress in Milan.

On Thursday 6th, in the evening, the grand finale with a new Dine Around Dinner with the chefs when Matthew Kenney, Massimo Bottura, Franco Pepe, Fortunato Nicotra, Alex Atala and Niko Romito will all be cooking at Eataly.