Mario Caramella Chef Patron at Forlino (Singapore)
From next January, Mario Caramella, the President of GVCI, will be the Chef Patron at Forlino Restaurant in Singapore. A creature of Beppe De Vito, Forlino is one of the best addresses in town for quality Italian cuisine. In the last few years Mario Caramella has worked as executive chef of a luxury hotel in Bali (Indonesia). His debut at Forlino will coincide with the launch of the International Day of Italian Cuisines and Forlino will host Italian celebrity chef Massimo Bottura.
ITALIAN DIVINE ESCAPES ARE NOW CLOSER
The renowned Italian food writer Luigi Cremona and his partner Lorenza Vitali have just published "Divines Escapes” (Mete Divine), a beautiful guide to more than 100 top Italian hotels with great gourmet restaurants inside. The book, in Italian and English, is an exclusive, perfect travel companion for those who want to dine in style in Italy and sleep under the same roof. An ideal book to plan romantic escapes as well. Published by Witaly, the publication has 300 pages and for each hotel’s restaurant there is a picture of both the place and chef plus one of her/his signature dish. Form more information and to order the book, click here
A Letter from Gianni Favro: “It was a very sad period…”
I would have preferred to receive the title of GVCI Chef of the Year as recognition of my work rather than because of the unpleasant events that occurred in Bangkok in the months of April and May this year.
You will remember that the economic centre of the city was held hostage by a large group of protestors who were able to cut it off with nasty, rudimentary bamboo barricades. It happened one morning that I witnessed the dousing of innumerable rags woven into the barriers with big tanks of gasoline, ready to be set on fire whenever the army attempted to approach.
It was a sad period, not so much because of the lack of income of commercial activities; Thailand had given me so much so I was willing to reciprocate with a bit of sacrifice in the name of a better democracy. But as the days passed, between promises of the removal of the barriers followed by denials to do so, a frustrating situation of stalemate was developed, in which in the state of total impotence, I started to form serious doubts about the choice of Thailand as the country in which to spend the second half of my working life. In those circumstances, I was no longer sure that I was making the right judgement, and I started to think of going to other countries. All the same, having lived almost two decades in this, in spite of everything, marvellous country, the option of starting everything again in another place did not attract me in the least.
Those two months, the restaurant stayed open during the week to give service to the residents of what had already turned into the ‘Red Zone’, to those who dared to venture out of their homes and to those few who audaciously went back to their offices.
It was good exercise of business economy to cancel the products ordered that regularly arrive from Europe and to try not to waste those already in the refrigerator and in the stockrooms by inventing alternative meals. The personnel were given holiday till New Years Day, then we invented different maintenance jobs, amongst which was the painting of the kitchen and the stockrooms.
In the afternoons, when I walked around in the centre, I was under the impression that the majority of the demonstrators did not have a notion of why they were there; they were mainly simple people, recruited in the countryside that was still too dry for sowing rice. I bumped into men and women, equipped with towels and soap, looking for some unlikely current of water for washing themselves. Day and night, the centre of Bangkok was held hostage by the deafening choruses of the shift leaders, who, on top of enormous speakers, made the atmosphere quite sinister.
At night, I stayed alone at home, my family had lengthened its holiday in Italy and with the curfew that started at 8:00 pm, I spent the nights on the internet keeping friends and relatives calm.
After two months of the exhausting and frustrating lulls in the negotiations between the government and the demonstrators, the army finally started to recover the heart of the metropolis and the retreat of the protesters left behind a wake of useless devastation and indelible injuries.
During those two months of turmoil, the solidarity between restaurateurs and owners of commercial activities located within the area invaded by the demonstrators was great; and often a thought was passionately stated amongst us: to start again with even more decisiveness and determination, to roll up our sleeves to always raise the quality of our activities and to work with dedication and passion to elevate even more the culinary fame of our great city.
Thanking you for the recognition received, I wish you good work.
Gianni Favro, Bangkok
Gianni Favro, GVCI Chef of the year 2010
Gianni Favro, chef and owner of “Gianni´s” restaurant in Bangkok is the GVCI chef of the year. Mario Caramella, GVCI President, have announced it, saying that the award (a symbolic silver pan offered by Piazza) goes to a chef who came successfully out a very difficult professional situation. In the past year the award went to Vincenzo Perez (at that time in Lebanon), Alex Colombis (Cambodia), Emanuele Lattanzi (caught in a terroristic attack to the hotel in which he was working in Mumbai) and Gianfelice Guerini (Ferrari F1 team chef). Gianni, who tells of his experience in a letter, found himself and his businesses in the middle of the revolt that took place in the Thai capital in the last months of April and May. “The area where Gianni’s restaurant is was invaded by the insurgents, the restaurant had to close and they burned some of the outlets of another food business he owns”, said Mario Caramella. Gianni, a dynamic and prepared chef entrepreneur, great connoisseur of Italian wines, resisted and finally overtook the difficulties. He still lives and works inThailand, the land in which he has been in the last 20 years. The award is dedicated to the memory of the late Antonio Amato, a chef associated to GVCI, killed by terrorists in Saudi Arabia in 2003.
Luca´s Late Night Wine Tasting
One of the highlights of our Italian Cuisine World Summit will take place on November 5, 2010 (22:30 hrs.) at H-One Restaurant. Executive Chef Luca Signoretti (see profile) will be the host of this wonderful event. Booking and information.
The Pasta Book
Food author Julia Della Croce presents her new work “The Pasta Book” edited by Williams-Sonoma. In her 13th book so far, she presents a variety of traditional Italian recipes that focus mainly on rustic, home cooking and the use of seasonal ingredients.
PRELIMINARY APPEARANCES AND BOOK SIGNINGS for “ITALIAN HOME COOKING” book:
- Nov 4 from 6-8 pm, short talk, demo, tasting, book signing, Tyler Florence Shop, Mill Valley, CA
- Nov 5 from 6-7 pm, short talk and book signing, Omnivore Books, San Francisco, CA
- Nov 16 from 12:30-1:30 pm, cooking demonstration, Better TV, Nationally Syndicated Show, CT
- Nov 20 from 3-5 pm, joint book signing with author Joan Gussow, Village Book Store, Pleasantville, NY--open to the public
- Nov 27 demo, 3-4 pm, Cooking with Marilyn Harris radio show, Cincinnati, OH
- Nov 30, 7-9 pm, book launch party, DiPalo Fine Foods, 200 Grand St, NY, NY RSVP Ron Longe,
- Dec 3, Chicago Gourmet dinner event, Pensiero, Evanston, IL
- Dec 4, all-day, Chopping Block, Chicago, Il, demos, 55,000 attendees
- Dec 11, DiPalo Fine Foods, 200 Grand St., NY, NY, short talk and book signing--open to the public
- Dec 13, 6-9 pm, Kings Cooking Studio, Short Hills, NJ, cooking class--contact: Cherry Huntoon, (973) 258-4009,
ITALIAN WINES: 2010 A VERY GOOD VINTAGE
2010 harvest has started in Italy with a great forecast: it will be a very good year for quality and quantity with a production increase estimated of 2.5% (+4.3% in the North and +0.3% in the South). The estimates come from the Confagricoltura´s (Italian Confederation of Farmers) “Wine Observatory” that monitors 700 of the most prestigious Italian wine companies. The total production is estimated in 46.5 million hectolitres, which is within the average values of the last ten years.
The regions expecting the highest increase in quantity are Piedmont (+10%) and Umbria (+15%). Excellent vintage for the wines of Trentino Alto Adige (quantity remains the same), Emilia Romagna (+2.14% in quantity) good to excellent in Tuscany (+0.2% volume), Lombardy (+2.5%) and Friuli Venezia Giulia (+5%). Good to excellent vintages in southern Italy: Puglia (+3.5%); Sicily (less 2.75%). In Sardinia good, but with a sharp drop in production (-10%), good vintages in Campania and Calabria (+13% for each region).
Vintages in Italy (estimates from Confagricoltura)
Thousands of hectoliters
EATALY NEW YORK: “IT IS NOT JUST A MARKET, BUT A FOOD EXPERIENCE”
"Food is more sacred than commerce." With these words Mario Batali, the Italian- American celebrity chef introduced Eataly New York, the huge imported Italian Food hall (50.000 square feet). Eataly is a concept developed by the ebullient entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti with the blessing of Slow Food. The first one was opened and is still developing in Torino, Italy. Its Big Apple version required an investment of US 25 millions and has partners that include Batali, Joe Bastianich and his mother, TV celebrity chef Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.
Eataly is combination of fancy Italian grocery stores with individual retail departments offering the best and the most typical of Italian made food and wine products: pastry by Luca Montersino, bread, a butcher, a fishmonger (David Pasternack), pasta, cured meats, cheese, hand-made mozzarella (Il Laboratorio), some of which are directly connected to their own sit-down restaurants with waiter service.
There´s also a gelato shop, a coffee bar, and places selling panini and pizza (from the Napoli originated franchising Rossopomodoro), a wine store (and soon a rooftop beer garden – la Birreria), a bookstore and a warehouse showroom. Lidia Bastianich has her cooking school (La Scuola) as well.
QUALITY PDO POTATO HAS ITS FESTIVAL IN BOLOGNA
The 2010 edition of PATATA in BO will be launched in Bologna, the capital city of the Emilia Romagna Region, with a Gala Dinner held on 21st September. PATATA in BO is an event dedicated to the potato: a typically poor yet essential ingredient with a wide variety of uses. The queen of the event is the variety native from Bologna, recently declared a Protected Denomination of Origin (the only potato in Europe), and Patata in Bo promotes its consumption and the surrounding territory.
Today the potato is a key element of the agriculture of the region Emilia Romagna and the high quality of the product makes Bologna a point of reference for all of Italy. During the week of September 21-27, the potato will be featured on the menus of the best restaurants in the city and province, with an entertainment program based on food and wine culture and with conferences and debates for the potato industry operators.
XIII COUS COUS FEST IN SAN VITO LO CAPO
The 13th Cous Cous festival of San Vito Lo Capo will be held from 21st to 26th September. It’s presented as a celebration of integration, a festival of peoples, traditions, cultures, sounds and emotions. Eight countries (Ivory Coast, France, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Palestine, Senegal and Tunisia) gather around a dish of couscous to inspire exchange, enhance the differences and celebrate the harmony of a ‘colourful world’ – a rainbow of cultures.
Cous Cous is an ingredient of Sicilian Cuisine that has been used, at least, since mid XVI century in Italian southern regions. During the Festival that will take place in the beautiful marine city of San Vito Lo Capo (Sicilian province of Trapani) nine chefs from the mentioned countries with a multitude of cous cous dishes will compete in the already traditional international competition. They will be evaluated by two panels of judges: the expert judges, food and wine journalists, and the People’s Panel, a hundred festival visitors who will vote for their favourite dish.
LONG EXPECTED BAROLO MUSEUM OPENS ITS DOORS
The long expected Barolo wine museum is a reality at last. Located in the Falletti Castle in Barolo, it’s the first museum in the world dedicated to this great wine. The 15th century Castello Faletti, only a 5 minute walk away from Torre Barolo, has undergone a complete transformation and expansion to host the collection. Alessandro Antonelli was the architect in charge of the renovations and he´s famous for designing the Film museum in Torino. Not too long ago, the Castle had an enoteca with a huge selection of vintage Barolo bottles. The new museum is more a wine amusement park than a traditional museum.
Donato De Santis´ new book: Italian cooks go to Paradise
Cucina Paradiso is the title of the book recently published by Donato de Santis (Cucina Paradiso, 280 pages, Editorial Planeta, in Spanish), the Buenos Aires based Italian chef who is a TV celebrity in Latin America. Donato is a Senior Member of the network itchefs-GVCI and has worked in many prestigious restaurants in Italy and abroad (mainly in the USA). In 1984, when he was only 20, he was the better paid Italian chef abroad (at Valentino’s restaurant, In Santa Monica). He was also the personal chef of the late Gianni Versace.
In this book, this Milan born chef (from parents who migrated there from the Puglia region), shows what´s the real essence of an Italian chef, what makes him different from other chefs: the Italian chef is different because he carries a heritage that goes well beyond a simple ability at the stoves. Cucina Paradiso (which is not just a collection of recipes, but it’s full of stories, pictures, anecdotes and tips) proves that being a true Italian chefs is a choice of life, a dimension of the spirit rather than just a profession.
Donato’s philosophy is very much based on the basic tenets of all the associates to the itchefs-GVCI network: “From a gastronomic point of view, Italy is a federal country”, as Donato himself writes in the book in which he reasserts his indissoluble bond with pasta and quality olive oil. He also adds: “Italy is a generous country, a violent and romantic bombardment, a passionate relationship, which describes a bit what are we Italians made of”. And moreover what are many Italian chefs, as Donato, are made of. With a perfect timing Donato opened also a new deli and culinary workshop in an elegant area of the Argentine capital. The name? Cucina Paradiso, of course.
Gaetano Ascione, the chef who manages Miami’s “Powerhouse Place”
Chef and restaurateur Gaetano Ascione, a long time associate to the itchefs-GVCI network, is very proud of his last achievement. His Gaetano’s Ristorante in Coral Gables – Miami has just been voted by the readers of the Miami New Time as "The Best of Miami - The Power House Place”. The motivation reads: “At Gaetano´s all the makers and shakers come together to discuss strategies, politics, economics etc as well as to have some of the Best Food of this side of the ocean”. The restaurant is located inside the Hotel St. Michel (where it has replaced the Restaurant St. Michel).
Chef Gaetano, a native of Naples, serves outstanding and honest, fresh and simple Italian cuisine prepared with the best and freshest ingredients the country exports, served alongside a hand picked collection of regional Italian Wines. Media reviewers stress that “Gaetano's Ristorante is not just a restaurant but a destination where their customers can travel in search of the pleasure of great food, conviviality, pure and sincere”. Gaetano's Ristorante's passion and love guided the compilation of their Wine list that has wines from the greatest vineyards and producers in Italy. They are certain that among the pages of Gaetano's wine list, you will find, as they have, a wine to fall in love with.
“Knowledge of Italian Cuisine is indispensable to any contemporary chef”
Starting next September 1st, the Mexican IVAC (Veracruz´s Institute of High Cuisine) will offer a course on Italian Cuisine: “2000 years of gastronomic history”. It will be taught by Silvia Bernardini: chef, restaurateur, historian and a member of the itchefs-gvci network. The aim of the course is to introduce students to the main aspects of Italian Cuisine which is extremely popular in Mexico for being very healthy, among other reasons. “The knowledge of the authentic tenets of the Italian Cuisine is among the indispensable tools needed by any contemporary eager cook or professional chef”, says Silvia Bernardini who owns the restaurant L’Incontro in Veracruz and hosts a gastronomic program in a local radio station.
Wine list on iPad: La Credenza is the First Restaurant in Italy
La Credenza, the Michelin starred restaurant in San Maurizio Canavese (Turin) is the first Italian restaurant to have its wine list on iPad. The restaurant, owned by the chefs Giovanni Grasso (in photo left) e Igor Macchia, both members of the itchefs-GVCI network, has developed a versatile application allowing clients to choose their wines on the basis of many options: the price, the geographic provenience, the grape variety, etc. Actually, the client can even access the website of the winery that produces the label he/she is about to select or other related sites (La credenza has wi-fi connection in all its rooms). Of course, a sommelier is always available to integrate the information given by the iPad.
The application, which works for any restaurant, will be available starting next October (both in English and Italian). Nowadays, very few restaurants around the world have their wine lists on iPad but specialists foresee that many will take advantage of this tool, particularly Italian restaurants abroad. It will be a way to assist customers in the better understanding of the immense but well organized offer of Italian wines.
CIRA (Sydney): more than cappuccino, pizza and pasta
Sydney based CIRA, the Council of Italian Restaurants in Australia, is an example of a clear commitment towards correct education in Italian Cuisine. The Council’s aim is to protect the traditions and integrity of Italian cooking by providing advice to members of the association on writing menus, selecting produce and wine; and ensuring Italian chefs, as well as the Italian food lovers, are properly schooled in the true basics. It’s within this context that CIRA is currently hosting an interesting calendar of classes at its Cooking School, in Casa Barilla’s world-class cooking facility (Annandale). Some of the best Italian chefs in town will teach at the classes, including Mario Percuoco, Lucio Galletto (Lucio’s), Nino Zoccali (Pendolino), Danny Russo, Gabriele Taddeucci (Uccello). “We are happy to be passing on our knowledge and sharing our passion with the Australian public so they can appreciate the intricacy and beauty of Italian cuisine”, says Lucio Galletto, CIRA’s President. The Council is committed to educating Australians about the huge variety of Italian cuisine on offer in many of Sydney’s great Italian restaurants. “More than cappuccino, pizza and pasta; regional Italian cuisine is so varied, and so exciting to learn about. And what better way than by joining classes hosted by some of the best practicing Italian-Australians chefs who really know how to showcase their region,” Galletto said.
CIRA was formed almost ten years by a group of Italian chefs and restaurateurs, including Armando Percuoco (Buon Ricordo), Lucio Galletto (Lucio's), Danny Russo, Vanessa Martin, Massimo Bianchi and Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freschwater).
ORNELLA WILL LEAD ITALIAN CHEFS AT THE COLUMBUS DAY PARADE
Ornella Fado the brilliant creator and broadcaster of Brindiamo!, the only TV show that showcases the finest and most authentic Italian restaurants in the U.S., is organizing an important initiative for the Columbus Day Parade this October 11. She’s promoting a Brindiamo! float in which for the first time, the “protagonisti” are the Italian Chefs, “I´ve always believed that Italian restaurants have been a major work force in America, particularly in New York City, and not just for the Italian community”, says Ornella who adds “So Chefs should be out there celebrating this day about immigration, hard work, and success”. Moved by the respect that she feels for each Italian chef and for their hard work, she wants to toast to them all and invite them to be on her float on the fun, festive event that is the Columbus Day Parade.
Ornella, in collaboration with IFSE, a cooking school based in Piobesi Torinese, is also promoting the First edition of “The Brindiamo! Scholarship”, which is a great opportunity to travel to one of the, historically and culturally, richest regions in Italy: Piedmont, to learn cooking skills. Only three talented individuals will be selected to win the Brindiamo! Scholarship, although regular courses are open to everyone who loves italian food and culture.
Massimo Falsini: Chef of the winning Formula Ferrari
Massimo Falsini has a very challenging job: he´s Executive Chef of Formula Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s first Ferrari theme park and the largest attraction of its kind, which will open next October 28. The Park will have hyper technological, multisensory attractions, built to attract fans, families and racing fanatics who will experience “the race”, the culture, the indulgence and the history.
Massimo, an itchefs-gvci long-time member, is responsible for the 6 food and beverage outlets that include an organic kitchen, a fine “high end” cafè and a Pizzeria making TSP authentic Neapolitan Pizza. “Our aim is to propose a F&B program of very high quality, literally to revolutionize the theme park industry”, says chef Falsini, who leads a team of 106 chefs (most of them with experience in Michelin starred restaurants) and 25 stewards.
The highlights of the program remain secret at the moment but Massimo says that, together with his F&B Vice President, they are working on the reinterpretation of street-food. “To go back to the origins, where each component of the dish had something to say”. Formula Rossa (blast away on the fastest rollercoaster on the planet strapped into the F1 cockpit) and Bell’Italia (a leisurely drive in a small-scale Ferrari 250 California, circa 1957, thru the best of Italia’s cityscapes, landmarks and racing venues) are the main attractions for the visitors that are expected at the Formula Ferrari World.
ARNAD (VALLE D´AOSTA): A UNIQUE FEAST OF GOURMET LARD AND COLD CUTS
From August 26 to 30, lard will be the king of a festival in Arnad, a small town in the lower Valle d'Aosta. The lard of this area is the only one of European protected designation of origin (PDO).
It was, until recently, considered useful only for seasoning, but its status has been elevated with the local gastronomic event, the ‘Lard Festival’, so that it now enjoys a nationwide reputation. Nowadays, it has its rightful place on the table as a delicious antipasto.
One special feature of Arnad lard concerns how the pigs are fed, since this does not involve using integrated fodder, it, thus, necessarily involves feed like chestnuts and vegetables. It is then seasoned, using locally found flavourings such as garlic, salt, rosemary, bay leaves and brine, and kept in a handmade chestnut wood container known as a ‘doil’.
During the Festival, on Saturday 29 August, there will be a special Italian P.D.O and P.G.I cold meat exhibition and tasting and visitors will be able to taste all the best Italian delicatessen products in the typical wooden huts that have always characterised the ‘Lard Festival’ event. Here is the list of the cold cuts present at the tasting:
2 Valle D’aosta Lardo di Arnad DOP
3 Valle D’aosta Jambon de Bosses DOP
4 Mortadella Bologna IGP
5 Prosciutto di Parma DOP
6 Bresaola della Valtellina IGP
7 Soprèssa Vicentina DOP -
Prosciutto Veneto Berico-Euganeo DOP
8 Soppressata di Calabria DOP
Capocollo di Calabria DOP
Salsiccia di Calabria DOP
Pancetta di Calabria DOP
9 Salamini Italiani alla Cacciatora DOP
10 Zampone Modena IGP
Cotechino Modena IGP
11 Prosciutto di Modena DOP
12 Salame Piacentino DOP
Coppa Piacentina DOP
Pancetta Piacentina DOP
13 Culatello di Zibello DOP
14 Salame Cremona IGP
15 Salame di Varzi DOP
16 Prosciutto Toscano DOP
17 Prosciutto di Carpegna DOP
Prosciutto di Norcia IGP
18 Lardo di Colonnata IGP
Salame S. Angelo IGP
19 Coppa di Parma IGP (*)
Salame Felino IGP (*)
20 Crudo di Cuneo DOP (*)
Salame Piemonte DOP (*)
21 Speck dell'alto Adige IGP
Prosciutto Di Sauris IGP (*)
22 Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP
23 Salame d'oca di Mortara IGP
Salame Brianza DOP
BRUNO BARBIERI, FROM ITALY TO RIO DE JANEIRO, WITH EXCITEMENT
Bruno Barbieri, the former chef of the Relais L’Arquade (San Pietro in Cariano – Verona), who controversially left Italy in search of better professional opportunities, has disembarked in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He will open a new restaurant in the Carioca city next November. As anticipated by the Gambero Rosso website, Barbieri will run an open space, with creative cuisine, “but not extreme”. Barbieri, who has never worked abroad before, talks already as a veteran of Italian Cuisine outside Italy, and offers himself as a candidate to represent the best of Italian productions. He is finding the Brazilian reality very exciting.