Barbara Guerra and Albert Sapere, curators of the Italian food congress LSDM or Le Strade della Mozzarella (Mozzarella Roads) have announced that the next congress to take place in Paestum, Italy on 23 and 24 May 2018 will have as its main theme eat well to stay well.
“Over the past 10 years, we have had the good fortune to closely observe the cuisine of some of the best Italian restaurants. Today, cuisine has assumed a new social function because chefs are also in the spotlight. Today, It is not sufficient to just know how to produce food that is technically and stylistically correct. The wellbeing of the diners, the sustainability of ingredients used to prepare dishes, vegetables and the definition of a dietary model are all important topics which are becoming increasingly pertinent,” the two curators of the congress said.
Their aim is not to ostracise any particular food but rather to apply common sense, to the benefit of customers and our planet.
For the event they have come up with a 10 point manifesto which in their view Italian chefs can draw inspiration from when they create their menus.
1. Serve fruit and vegetables, in savoury and sweet dishes, with a preference for seasonal produce;
2. Use more extra virgin olive oil than any other fat;
3. Do not disdain dried pasta, a universally recognized symbol of Italian food;
4. Make an increased use of vegetable proteins – such as pulses – and contribute to recovering the traditional varieties that can be found all over Italy;
5. Purchase from sustainable farming and breeding activities, with a preference for traceable products;
6. Valorise small-scale local craftsmen, with a preference for good practices rather than just local ones;
7. Respect local food traditions and the peculiar characteristics of your terroir;
8. Cater for the special dietary needs of your customers and, in general, serve well balanced dishes from a nutritional point of view;
9. In the kitchen, use technology as a tool to improve on tradition, not as an end in itself;
10. Be ready to dialogue with colleagues worldwide, to facilitate interdisciplinary contaminations.
Using a US doctor as an example, they say that after the second world war Ancel Keys had visited Naples and discovered there was no cardiology ward in the city’s hospital. This was not due to lack of funds but, more simply, because of a lack of heart diseases. This led him to conduct an in-depth study in Italy, Spain, Greece and Morocco to get to the bottom of the question.
Keys, who spent a significant part of his life at Pioppi, in the Cilento area, ended up by theorizing that the absence of heart disease among the Mediterranean populations was due to their lifestyle and diet. Hence the debut of the Mediterranean Diet.
Ancel and Margaret Keys managed to upend the scientific milieu and all the pre-existing convictions on food, thanks to three widely read publications: Eat well and stay well, The benevolent bean, How to eat well and stay well. The Mediterranean way.
How to put this theory into practice will be the main topic of talks given by chefs at the next edition of LSDM.
Barbara Guerra and Albert Sapere said they believe the chef’s role is increasingly pivotal, as a creator of joy and the mentor of his customers. Starting from the 1900s, a century of great discoveries for mankind, food became a status symbol and not just a basic human need, essential for survival.
Today’s chef is not waging a war against famine, but he is the driving force of a renewed food and environmental awareness; he is a carrier of expertise with regard to ingredients and technical innovation. He is endowed with a new social status, as never before in the past.