January and February mark the beginning of a new season for gastronomic festivals and congresses. Just like in 2010 and 2011 when I went to France to represent Relæ, I this year went to Milan, Italy – full of joy and great expectations.
Identità Golose is one of the greatest Italian food congresses. It has been around for eight years; hence, it is considered one of the first of its kind. Some say that when Paolo Marchi (journalist and food writer) came back from Madrid Fusion together with Carlo Cracco (Italian Michelin-chef), he decided that it was about time to create a similar event in Italy, and thereby give Italian gastronomy a kind push.
Throughout the years, chefs from all over the world have entered the stage and displayed their cooking, just like at Madrid Fusion and Omnivore Food Festival, where I have been participating three times.
Back then, it meant a lot to be invited to participate in Omnivore – also known as OFF – as the festival is focused around the “young” kitchen. Young chefs, who work creatively with their “cuisine d’auteurs”, meaning their personal kitchen. However, it meant even more to participate in Identità Golose, which takes place in Italy and focuses on the Italian kitchen. As Italian immigrant, it is amazing to be able to return to your home country with your own interpretation of how the Italian kitchen may evolve.
My work in the kitchen will by few, including me, be defined as Italian. Though it’s just as Italian as it’s Nordic. It you create a personal, thoughtful kitchen, naturally, it will reflect your personality, cultural background and thereby your sources of inspiration. The Italian kitchen has inspired me by its simplicity and the profound focus on the ingredients, which to a great extent also defines the Nordic kitchen. The Italian lies deep in me, and this results in a differentiated inspiration and approach to the Italian kitchen, which might be regarded as a combination with the Nordic.
John and I were presenting three courses, among which two had clear references to the Italian kitchen. We sliced a swede into thin slices, which we prepared in a butte emulsion until they got a pappardelle-like al dente texture. Then we served it with a sauce based on pig and oregano. We steamed, salted, long slices of potato wrapped around seaweed, which in both texture and appearance resemble spaghetti rolled around a fork. A dish that we also just put on the menu at Relæ.
The presentation went well despite my brief nervousness to choke on the Italian vocabulary, when it came to cooking related expressions. I have never worked in an Italian kitchen, and my mother tongue is kept alive by talking to my family – and sports journalism. This does not help you, when you have siphon bottles, different kinds of cabbage, brine and vacuum bags with you on stage. The present journalists responded positively and I participated in 4-5 interviews with different Italian media. Media, which shows a great interest in the Nordic kitchen and in Copenhagen. I am pretty sure that they were all over the place when René Redzepi arrived the next day. Cf. my profile on their website.
Back home we have started to prepare for the next congress, which lies just around the corner; Melbourne Food Festival, in March. So far it is the biggest and most interesting congress I have been participating in.