As you probably have seen from the pictures I had been posting on my social networks, I was on an amazing culinary journey the past week. And this was no ordinary culinary journey as first of all the destination was ITALY and we all know (food people especially) that if San Sebastian was the Holy Grail of culinary destinations then Italy is the ultimate heaven to which even the grail bows! Yes this is Italy and I tell you the food chromosome is the main and most essential element in the Italian genome! So you can imagine what kind of culinary adventure this had been. And if that was not enough, then being invited by the Italian Cuisine world Summit, the 5th Italian Cuisine In The World Forum and the Italian Consulate in Dubai only meant that I not only got to explore a culinary destination, but also have all the backup to optimise this trip as I could have never done on my own! After all, how do we know a place if not through its own people and its food. Best of all, if those people are the ones most enthusiastic about its cuisine!
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A dedicated translator at all times to ensure I do not miss a thing and that nothing gets lost in lack of translation, over 200 Michelin and Master Italian Chefs from all over the world to explain anything and everything to me, recommend must try’s, translate even more and delve into more details about culture and food discussions with me (we all know I am possibly the biggest food and culture nerd out there and this just served me so well). Then there was also meeting various producers to talk to me about produce, regions, best practices, recommended uses and all things food and production related… then some more! Not done yet, no! I had also had the pleasure to travel around in a road and sky trip throughout Milan, Florence and Sardegna! Exploring every little corner, every atom of produce and every thought that ever crossed anyone’s mind! All the while doing what I love best: Eat, talk with people and film & photograph (they did in the end say I was a “Macchina Fotografia” a title that I can live with so happily for ever). And yes I admit, I do take a whole lot of photographs and videos when I travel, I just love places and connect with the place and people and always love shooting gorgeous pictures for memory, some for sharing with you and loads for my repertoire of images and video library.
I am most happy that this trip was not just about fancy food (although partly present however not the focus). I was happy that it was about Italy, its produce, authentic cuisine, grassroots, people of all backgrounds and all things real. While I love the Michelin restaurants and admire the Michelin Chefs so greatly (I had been watching them at work and speaking with them for so many years and very closely for the past few years) however, even they agree that it all starts at the grassroots and from there to the top. Such view gives a deeper meaning and tremendous understanding without which all else becomes shallow and meaningless. After all they acquired their Michelin because they understood this deeply and reflected it in their foods.
As you can imagine I have millions of stories to share and also some amazing recipes for foods tried there that inspired me. Yet, most importantly I find people and their stories to be the focal point of any activity I do. As ever, am always searching for stories and forever love telling a good story and such narratives without the people behind them (as with food) will never have true meaning, nor will anyone ever connect with them. Therefore, I will start with a story that took place the second day I arrived in Milan.
I chose to start with this one because it sums up the Italian culture. It sums up their view on life, culture, food and shows their endless passion. We regularly hear words such as “passion” and we even watch these words become bastardised by over exploitation in the media, however, only when we encounter the manifestation in real life that we begin to understand why some people are in fact special enough to be given a title of which they are actually worthy. Finally, I am sharing this story because while slightly different in detail, it is essentially the same as another food demonstration that took place many decades earlier in Rome. The demonstration that eventually gave birth to the “Slow Food” movement and got it established!
So here we go, without too many introductions…
The 2nd day of my very promising culinary adventure in Italy, specifically at Expo Milano 2015, the Italian Chefs (Michelin, Master and start up chefs) peacefully and swiftly invaded the McDonald’s Pavilion to demonstrate the importance of “Mindful Eating” and the significance of “Reflecting on the necessary tie between food and culture”.
Watch the video below and see how the Italian Chefs peacefully invaded the McDonald’s pavilion and started distributing cheese to everyone there. Why, how, what happened and why cheese? all are answered in this video along with real footage of this peaceful demonstration, including the staff getting all worked up and the chefs getting told off by the police!
Who knew chefs could be such trouble makers?!
On a separate note, do subscribe to my newsletter (at the bottom of the page) as we will be sharing with you some news and updates. It is becoming a little too busy for me to post regularly here (eventually I do but it takes time) and in the newsletter you will hear the news and updates faster than the blog.
With that said, I will also be taking off next week for a bit over a month on another tour of USA. So exciting and very different this time!! So I will have to interrupt the Italy posts for a while however once back all will be resumed in build up for the Italian Cuisine World Summit taking place in Dubai this October/November. Followed by the USA posts and videos. In the meantime my cookbook will have become ready for launching this fall! Such exciting times! Really can’t wait to share it all with you.
Enjoy and Let me hear from you x
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