The thirteenth edition of the congress Identity Gourmet, which took place in Milan from 4 to 7 March 2017, had extraordinary exponents of international cuisine during all days. As I remember, the last time I had a fever I was 5 years old. In fact, it seems right that this time it's my turn, and here I am, with a fever of 40 for more or less a week, where I alternate moments of lucid vigil with moments of great sleepiness. Sunday morning 5 March I was better, I felt a fever and everything was ok, so I took advantage of my dad to have me accompany me in front of the MiCo (Milano Congressi in Zona Fiera) so as to get as cold as possible. As agreed with the MAGENTAbureau (always very good at managing everything) I found my press accreditation in the dedicated space, a pity only that the badge holder is not provided as they give you to the Vinitaly. In fact, I didn't even get it last year, but I forgot about it and didn't bring one with me (it's a bit inconvenient to take out the pass every time you enter and leave a room…). But let's talk about serious things now !! 😉
Sunday March 5 2017
Paul Pairet and Shanghai immersive dining: genius or madness?
I have not yet decided whether to frame it Chef Paul Pairet as a "genius" or as a "madman", but the mere fact that I'm wondering it is significant. Surely, among all the congresses I attended during my day, ad Identity Gourmet, that's what I liked the most. Paul Pairet is not there “because it has to be there” or just for. Paul Pairet is not there with the air of someone who has arrived who can do everything. Paul Pairet experiments with three different dishes, one of which in particular with an extraordinary technical difficulty, and performs it live to perfection.
Before showing you the dishes of the lesson, I want to take a step back and tell you about Paul Pairet, class 1964, French with a vision of non-French but cosmopolitan cuisine. Noticed for the first time by Alain Ducasse who wanted it for the Cam al Ritz Carlton of Istanbul, already there he managed in a short time to position the hotel restaurant among the top of the city. Then in 2005 there was the Asian "call" and he moved to Shanghai, but it is only in the 2012 that opens Ultraviolet, a restaurant with an innovative concept capable of creating a multisensory space around a single table where 10 guests share not only the 20-course menu but music, images, sounds and even smells that enhance and tell the dish. Ultraviolet's dining room is ascetic, without furniture, without paintings, without a spectacular view of something. The restaurant room was specially designed and built as a hi-tech space: 360 ° projections on the wall, multi-channel speakers, dry perfume projectors and UV lights. A tailor-made atmosphere is created for each dish with lights, scents, sounds and images. The will of Chef Paul Pairet is to break down the limits of the traditional restaurant, with the logic of the mother who "puts the family at the table" when it is ready, who does not dispute whether she cooked the pork, and when she cooked it. In this way the times are marked by the Chef and the cooking is perfect, in an ideal of perfection that the traditional restaurant cannot reach by definition. In practice, Paul Pairet independently decides what his guests will eat and serves him 22 courses in succession. This certainly allows a very high control of the ingredients that are released from a fixed card and can be of the highest quality.
Personally I consider Ultraviolet from Shanghai an extremely fascinating experiment, which I absolutely agree with especially for the 22 "surprise" courses, which the Chef cooks because he wants to cook with the splendid raw materials he has found! On the other hand, I am less convinced by the aseptic environment of the psyco experience: in my opinion, all these “external” sensations move away from the dish, distracting the guest. I agree with Paul Pairet: the perception of a dish is influenced by a lot of external factors, including the memories we are able to associate with. However, as a layman I consider all this outline a stretch, but I would really like to live this experience to have a truthful vision of this scandalously original restaurant.
The cod fillet cooked at 52 ° C in jelly: a truly spectacular preparation! Cod actually seems very simple, but having witnessed such precise cooking makes me imagine a truly amazing taste!
This oyster seems innocent, but it is not: its preparation is very fascinating, thanks also to the nitrogen that brings it to a cold temperature and creates a sorbet, a granita with sea water in the siphon and the oyster " touched "in soy).
The last dish shown (however we did not follow the preparation of this one as for the other two) is also a provocation: tomato and mozzarella reinterpreted for the Italian public. Chapeau!
Chef Paul Pairet is waiting for you at the Ultraviolet Restaurant in Shanghai... but don't expect to book normally over the phone: nothing is known about this restaurant, neither the number nor the address. To book you must send an email to email@example.com and introduce yourself from Mr & Miss Bund: there they blindfold you and "escort" you to the club by limousine! Yes, that's brilliantly crazy 😀
Cristina Bowerman and Guido Berlucchi: daring but excellent pairing!
Cristina Bowerman she is a woman, a mother, a geek, an entrepreneur and a starred cook. And for this I already like it: there are not many women in the firmament of the Michelin stars! And if we add a "gourmet" cuisine in Trastevere where only English is spoken… well goodbye clichés! Maybe I know the Berlucchi "women" (and well the men too), but I'm sure that this partnership is not accidental: Cristina Bowerman is very much in line with the philosophy of Guido Berlucchi, and above all with the Franciacorta presented: the '61 Brut Nature 2009! The paired finger food was bold but delicious, some raviolini with parmesan fondue and black pepper… I could have sworn I felt a hint of cocoa bean. As the '61 Brut Nature 2009 it is a soft, elegant and enveloping flavor… and I also liked the pairing very much because the bubble has tempered the Parmesan to perfection. You know by now that I really like this Franciacorta DOCG by Guido Berlucchi, I have talked about it on various occasions and HERE find the complete tasting!
Cristina Bowerman she is a woman, indeed a starred cook to keep "under control" because I am sure she will give us great satisfaction. I hope to visit her soon in her restaurant in Rome, maybe I take the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and go there with my best friend who lives right there ... also hoping to eat the pigeon of Cristina Bowerman because the combination with peanut butter in his menu inspires me a lot! 😉
Davide Oldani: Starting line for the new D'O of Cornaredo
I have said several times that I really like chef Davide Oldani. At Identità Golose 2017, however, he managed to amaze me under every expectation! In Sala Gialla 3, in collaboration with Maison de Champagne Ruinart, an event reserved for the press was held: Milan to drink. In memory of the fabulous 80s, in which I too was born, here is a dish that particularly struck me: Battuta d'Inizio. I've been playing tennis for 20 years. I loved this sport above all else… and I never thought I'd eat a tennis ball 😀 I found this dish absolutely brilliant, from the flavor to the presentation. A sweet-not-sweet gorgonzola mousse diluted with goat ricotta, fresh cream and perhaps even a little mascarpone (I found a roundness on the palate typical of this cheese) with a heart of apple and pear chutney, enclosed in a ball of yellow colored cocoa butter with a hint of saffron. Next to the ball teff buds that recall that 8 mm grass on which the best international tennis players, dressed strictly in white like that blown amaranth, throw the most famous starting lines in the world: Winbledon. And how not to get excited? In combination with the Maison de Champagne Ruinart the Blanc de Blanc: a burst of acidity that perfectly juggles with the delicate softness of the mousse, to which it gives notes of roasted coffee, brioche and candied cedar. I loved this combination and found it even more appropriate than the next one.
Imagine my joy in receiving an elegant package containing the mold to make 24 tennis balls and the spoon / racket as a gift! I gave the beautiful one Pavoni mold to dad: if there is one who can succeed in making these exquisite balls at home, it is him since he is a failed pastry chef (and his patience and meticulousness help a lot ...)! ?
Here is “Scivola la peel di banana”, another ingenious dish in its solid simplicity, to be eaten by licking thanks to the special dish designed by Davide Oldani himself. And as the undisputed co-star Champagne Ruinart Rosé, where the intense expression of the aromaticity of pinot noir and the elegance of chardonnay from 2 different vintages come together to create a truly interesting blend. The color is beautiful: an intense onion skin matured thanks to the complicity of the Pinot Noir vinified in red, 18% added during the assembly. Choice that is certainly also positive for the structure! The nose is a riot of aromas of good intensity: black cherry, ginger, bergamot and turmeric glide on a pleasantly acidulous palate. The combination was successful with Davide Oldani's “Scivola la peel di banana”, where the overripe banana is combined with an olive mousse… and licking you have an incredible sensation of soft and pungent aromaticity on every point of the tongue.
Pellegrino Bros: an "unscheduled" black pudding
You know when you have a hole before you do something and you slip into the last chair in a room to wait for the hour? Here is my discovery of the Pellegrino Bros that's exactly how it went. While I was waiting for Heinz Beck's intervention and interview I had an hour free ... Although there are also interesting stands, the heart of Identità Golose remains the Chefs' congresses and so I looked at what was in the various rooms and I chose these very young Salento! I am very pleased to have seen Isabella Potì, Floriano Pellegrino's beautiful Italian-Polish girlfriend who is Sous Chef and Pastry Chef in the restaurant, masterfully preparing this black pudding… great dexterity and great cold blood for a girl of just 22! Floriano and Giovanni have repeated several times that in Lecce there are no starred restaurants, and the goal they are working for is bringing the first Michelin star to their hometown. I was not among the lucky ones on the front row who tasted this dish that they learned from a true black pudding master ... but I can only wish the best to these very young guys full of talent and desire to run at supersonic speeds!
"We only accept qualified interns because we don't want to insult or massacre people but give them important responsibilities. And we only take foreign interns, no Italians: if we can't travel now, at least we take the trip to the kitchen. You want to put a Peruvian who teaches you at home to do a ceviche perfect?".
Floriano Pellegrino, Owner & Chef Pellegrino Bros, born in 1990
Heinz Beck: "What you've never seen, you find where you've never been"
A wonderful phrase, which alone expresses the theme that is so dear to this multi-starred Chef of German origins, who is 53 years old in Rome, 23 of which spent in Rome with his Palermo wife Teresa. Italy is his longest stage, he has never lived so long anywhere else (the place where he lived for a longer time, after Rome, was for just 8 years) and it is in Italy that he hopes to stay, even if he does not know his destiny a priori. Since 2006, the Pergola Rome Cavalieri, its restaurant from which you can enjoy a priceless view of the Roman skyline, has been awarded 3 Michelin stars.
At Identità Golose Heinz Beck gave an extraordinary lecture on the importance of education in the primordial relationship between man and food. To do this, he chose to prepare, together with his collaborators Roberta Merolli and Giovanni Solofra, a sandwich packed as if it were going to travel to the other side of the world.
A stimulating environment, made up of places, but above all of people capable of helping you grow, is a great starting point. Not fossilizing in an environment of comfort that prevents us from aspiring to elevate ourselves as people and as objectives is the first step to reach the top. Dreaming, experimenting, daring. Always.
“It's not the place that marks you the most, it's the environment that marks you. The environment around you must be productive and it must be a growth environment. You have to travel to increase knowledge, because it is the culture that distinguishes us from the animal. The more we travel, the more we rise within and the more we can give to others. My goal is to surround myself with people with great ideas capable of giving a lot to others, improving more and more. "
Interview with Heinz Beck
In 2017, the issue of malnutrition is increasingly central to living in a healthier and more equitable world. In third world countries, people die from lack of food, and in Western countries, people die from an abundance of toxic food. Culture is fundamental to overcoming the disparities between these worlds, through the choice of sustainable foods capable of respecting every man on Earth, and living a better life.
“We have to consider different aspects of the world that are fundamental: first of all the lack of resources which always becomes a bigger problem, then malnutrition, not in terms of not eating, but of poor nutrition in the Western world. We get older and older, but getting old is good if we are self-employed, if we don't need caregivers or doctors. If we have to age badly, it is better to live a few years shorter but in full health. Nutrition, the one made with criteria respecting concepts of lightness, digestibility and healthiness, becomes increasingly important for this economically strong world that feeds poorly. "
Interview with Heinz Beck
Knowing that Heinz Beck is also a fellow sommelier of AIS Roma, I couldn't help but ask him how his experience in AIS has influenced the development of his wine list. The focus was on looking for the intruder among the big names to dare increasingly avant-garde and rewarding combinations.
“Everyone does their own cuisine, to which it is essential to combine a balanced wine cellar. Of course it must contain big names, but it must focus above all on unusual wines that perfectly match your dishes. Do you want to put the pleasure of discovering a food wine pairing with a wine outside the box and with the usual names? "
Interview with Heinz Beck
I have made travel the theme of my life: I love to travel, especially alone, because nothing teaches you to be mentally independent like living away from your friends and family. I love everything related to travel: from bags with maps of the very Italian Alviero Martini, to cameras with which to immortalize moments and places. Since I was a child, I loved leafing through the Atlas to discover new places, always imagining new journeys. The thing that interests me most with the money that I will earn in my life is to travel, to "hunt" for art, history, extraordinary wines and colorful orchids around the world.
“The first piece of advice I can give to a young chef is to get a good foundation on Italian cuisine and then leave, because nothing shapes you more than an experience abroad. Abroad you are confronted with a completely different reality where you have to walk on your legs and assert that you are a man, without family and without friends. Where depends on the person, if he feels more like a European country or overseas. In this choice it is important to want to find oneself, following one's tastes and attitudes. For example, it is useless to go to Japan if you hate sushi or rice. But the country is not important, each country has positive and negative aspects. The things that really matter are travel, autonomy, independence and above all the will to learn. "
Interview with Heinz Beck
I wanted to end the day with Scabin, but shortly after finishing the Heinz Beck interview I got a fever and so we went home. The event that I was really sorry to miss was that of Cantine Ferrari, partner of Identità Golose, which had as guests the chefs Massimo Bottura and Umberto Bombana, welcomed by Matteo Lunelli, president of the Ferrari wineries. I had already organized everything, but on Monday I had a fever over 40 and it was not really possible to go out ... uff! But I hope to fix it soon, at least with a visit to the Ferrari Cellars ...
See you next year!
PS And you have been to Identità Golose? What conferences did you attend? What was the dish or chef you liked the most? Tell me in a comment! 😉
PPS Thanks to Brambilla and Serrani for the wonderful photographs (where I didn't do them, I used theirs!)