Massimo Bottura, the acclaimed Italian chef is bringing 12 promising international chefs and 12 chefs from his region, Emilia-Romagna to Al Meni for a food festival he created a few years ago.
The event takes place on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June.
Bottura will be directing the 24 chefs who will create magic under the Circo 8½ a giant coloured circus tent, set between the sea and the Grand Hotel that evokes a great master of world cinema: Federico Fellini. They will be the protagonists of ‘Al Mèni‘ (meaning “hands” in Romagna dialect),.
During these two days, the chefs will be taking turns working together in pairs in the large open kitchen to create unique dishes at street food prices. Nearby, an open-air market will be organised on the seafront promenade, offering gourmet and handmade products, meetings with authors and experts, workshops, itineraries with a personal shopper to discover quality products, and areas dedicated to designer street food and ice-cream. To top off the event, there will be a Saturday evening party by the sea and a Sunday picnic in the gardens of the Grand Hotel.
For two days, the Via Emilia dei Sapori (Emilia Romagna flavour itinerary) will run all the way down to the seafront, offering top quality local products to create a unique taste festival, dedicated to food in all its forms.
The idea was conceived by Massimo Bottura six years ago, when he imagined a circus tent in the middle of the square inspired by Fellini, celebrating the cuisine and products of Emilia Romagna with all the spontaneous atmosphere of a street party.
It was developed into an event by the Municipality of Rimini, together with the passion and knowledge of the Chef to Chef Emilia Romagna Cuochi Association on the one hand, and Slow Food Emilia Romagna on the other, which is responsible for promoting the products of this region.
The sixth edition of the event will be particularly focused on themes dear to the city: environmental sustainability and using surplus food. In the same year that the city of Rimini became one of the first Italian cities to embrace the ‘plastic free’ philosophy on the beach (with a new bathing ordinance that prohibits the sale of drinks in plastic cups or with disposable plastic straws), the ‘Al Meni’ event will be presented in a ‘green’ version.
They have committed to turn this into the first disposable waste-free event focusing on reuse and recycling.
All producers and gourmet street food outlets will use only paper or biodegradable materials to serve the public. Slow Food will be organising numerous events and workshops dedicated to the ‘sea as a shared resource’ and to reducing the use of plastic.
Free water distribution points will be available in collaboration with Hera to protect the environment, avoid using plastic bottles and limit the production of waste and pollution, while containers will be used to collect the compostable materials used. Each year, we continue our commitment to becoming more environmentally aware and sustainable in the fight against food waste, thanks to our collaboration with Food for Good, which involves the recovery of unconsumed food at the end of the event: from this year, this commitment will also involve hotels in Rimini with the Food for Good Hospitality project.
The chefs in the Circo 8½ of flavours
As always, there will be a large group of chefs led by Massimo Bottura. This year, while remaining oriented towards contemporary cuisine, the Al Meni show cooking programme seeks to explore the work of great traditional chefs, with a focus on sustainable ingredients and very low-waste catering. The first to open the show cooking will be Davide di Fabio, sous chef of the Osteria Francescana in Modena, that represents Italian cuisine in the world. Some of the absolute champions of our region’s traditions, such as Franco Cimini and Giovanni Cuocci, will be returning, bringing their own home-produced ingredients with them. Others, such as Rino Duca or Mario Ferrara, combine their own southern traditions with those of the region, creating their own unique style of cooking. There will be Luca Marchini, a star from Modena, offering his elegant interpretation of the most iconic province of Emilia. Marco Cavallucci, after years of leading one of the restaurants that have made the gastronomic history of our region, is now applying his extensive experience to more traditional formats and dishes, updating typical Romagna products with new techniques. Matteo Salbaroli and Michele Bacilieri offer cuisine inspired by a love of the sea and respect for the raw materials of two smaller cities, Ravenna and Ferrara. Raffaele Liuzzi, in contrast, is one of the most creative chefs in the region, with an incessant drive for experimentation and contagious energy. Claudio Cesena has just returned to Piacenza for his exciting new project, which reaffirms his interest in rediscovering the local cuisine of his area.
This year’s international chefs will include talented personalities who are ahead of their time and place, starting with Bledar Kola, a leading Albanian chef where he is an entrepreneur and a cultural protagonist. We will be exploring two totally different expressions of Canadian gastronomy with Colombe Saint Pierre, an expert in Quebec’s gastronomic diversity with a keen eye on product sustainability, and Jefferson Alvarez, who will tell us about the aromas of South America that are already making his Vancouver Cocoa iconic.
Simone Tondo is an icon of Al Meni, having participated in all the editions, and this year he is joined by Giovanni Passerini, who was the master of all the Italian expatriates in Paris, and who, with his restaurant, was the first to bring the quality of contemporary Italian cuisine to the French capital. The work of Tischenko in Paris, who even has a part of the menu dedicated to tartare, or Marie Victorine Manoa in Lyon, who has just been on the last French edition of Top Chef, is even more at the heart of an idea of sustainable cuisine, attentive to the ingredients and producers.
We couldn’t miss a look at a contemporary Nordic cuisine with very different features with Evelyn and Kim di Inari in Helsinki or Francisco Cardenas, Argentinean sous chef at Kadeau Copenhagen. Then there is an international inspiration from the Berlin scene with Thai chef Dalad Kambhu who, after ten years of experience in the United States, opened a very personal eatery in the heart of the capital of the European cultural new wave. Tom Anglesea is the chef of one of the coolest places in London at the moment; The Laughing Heart is, in fact, one of the most popular spots in the capital, especially among colleagues in the restaurant industry. Tim Butler is more of a guest star than a rising star. After years in the ’50 best’ with his restaurant EatMe in Bangkok, he has launched new projects that have taken him to Malta. He has a bright and eclectic personality that will leave its mark. Jordan Bailey was born in Cornwall, but after being the chef of the Norwegian 3-star Maaemo, he decided to open Aimsir (the weather) in Ireland. His restaurant places the flow of natural change at the core of its cuisine, in an idea as fresh and innovative as the young people who run it.
The farmers’ market
Local specialities will be available at the Al Meni market, which will be an extraordinary showcase of Emilia-Romagna’s gastronomic products, allowing visitors to travel with their taste and mind through the chefs’ larders of delicious ingredients, offering a glimpse into the way the quality of the dishes made is always the result of the territory and its fabulous products. These include the foods the region is famous for, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Culatello di Zibello, and Mora Romagnola cured meats, along with Piacenza salami, honey and fruit, vegetables and biscuits, all of which provide a unique opportunity to taste, get to know and buy some truly special products. The selection is by Chef to Chef Emilia Romagna Cuochi, in collaboration with Slow Food and the Rimini Wine and Flavours Route.
Gourmet street food and the famous gelato around Circo 8½
Around the Circo 8½ tent there will be special gourmet street food outlets bringing the best of artisan production to the roundabout in Piazzale Fellini. “TerraMare: la Camargue Italien, oysters and eels” is an original exploration of the Po Delta proposed by chefs Riccardo Agostini (Il Piastrino di Pennabilli) and Gianpaolo Raschi (Guido restaurant in Rimini), the result of their meeting with an oyster farmer and a former eel fisherman. Zivieri butcher’s will be leading the food trucks with the best meat products, including mortadella, Mora Romagnola ‘kebab’, sandwiches and burgers reinterpreted in Romagna style, with a strong focus on using the products at the Al Meni market. Another location is run by chef Alberto Faccani, who will be directing Chef to Chef Emilia Romagna Cuochi’s street food chefs with a special guest from outside the region, directly from the Antica Osteria Magenes of the Guidi brothers. This year Rimini’s Quartopiano restaurant will be attending, on the theme of celebration! Chef Silver Succi will be constructing his own idea of street food with the tenth anniversary of a cosmopolitan gastronomic project, all interpreted in Romagna style. La Sangiovesa and Tenuta Saiano will be taking part together, bringing local, traditional cuisine to Al Meni and narrating the productive and gastronomic culture of our Romagna hinterland. Rimini fishermen will be the protagonists with their dishes based on fried fish, shrimp and squid skewers and the unmissable piadina, at the ‘Rimini per tutti’ truck. Gin Mare and Benso have created an innovative space offering drinks designed specifically for Al Meni, paired with Benso’s local and contemporary inspired dishes. A special area will be dedicated to artisanal gelato in collaboration with Mo.Ca. and the teachers from Carpigiani Gelato University. Inside the “Gelateria dei sogni” next to the marquee, you will find the traditional flavours of the best ice cream parlours of Romagna, as well as the special flavours created by the chefs of Al Meni. All activities will be supported by the Onlus Cuore 21 & Centro 21 Riccione. The 2019 novelty is the “Mo.Ca. Challenge”, in which Al Meni chefs and journalists will be judging 15 gelato flavours by as many gelato makers. What flavour will win? Artisanal gelato will also be blended with culture at the 10 Gelato Emotions workshops held by the Carpigiani Gelato Museum, dedicated to ice cream lovers of all ages, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday from 6 pm to 10 pm.
Slow Food Emilia Romagna at Al Meni
Slow Food Emilia Romagna and Condotta di Rimini will be bringing to Al Meni 2019 a reflection on the “Sea as a shared resource” through workshops, meetings and tastings. With the gourmet proposals of the chefs from the “Slow Food Alliance” in the Slow Food space outside the circus and the in-depth studies proposed by experts in the area next to the kitchen, the public get a first-hand look at the themes of fishing, microplastics, climate change and the consequences on the health of the seas. All this will be told through stories and testimonies of fishing and fishermen, salt workers and men who live the sea every day, teaching behaviours and consumption methods that are aware and respectful of one of the Earth’s fundamental resources.
Al Meni campaigns against food waste with Food for Good
As in the previous two editions, the organisers have chosen to join Food for Good, the project that fights food waste by helping people living in difficult conditions.
Created in 2015 thanks to the collaboration between Federcongressi&eventi (the association of the Italian industry of events and congresses) and the non-profit Food Bank and Equoevento, Food for Good organises volunteers from non-profit organisations to collect good quality, unused and correctly preserved food at the end of the events and deliver it to the nearest charity structure.
The food from Al Meni will be sent to the “Mensa dei Poveri” soup kitchen in Rimini, run by the “Opera di Sant’Antonio”. But Rimini’s support for the fight against food waste is not limited to Al Meni. The Municipal Administration’s desire to make the city a “sustainable destination” has given rise to a “sub-section” of Food for Good: Food for Good Hospitality.
Starting this summer, the initiative will be opening Food for Good to hotels, making them aware of how to reduce food waste and how to recover and donate it. Last year, on the proposal of Banco Alimentare food bank, Food for Good was included among the best practices on the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste. The platform was established two years ago by the European Commission as part of the EU Action Plan for the circular economy of 2015 to identify, share and develop solutions to reduce waste in the food supply chain. Since its foundation, Food for Good has enabled the recovery of more than 108,000 ready meals and almost 6000 kg of bread and fruit from about 300 congresses, events, meetings and conventions (May 2019 data).