It is sometimes called the G8 of international cuisine. On 23 and 24 June, close to the sea in Rimini, Massimo Bottura, chef of Osteria Francescana, will organise the fifth edition of ‘Al Méni’ an open air food festival where 12 chefs from Emilia Romagna and 12 up and coming international chefs join forces to serve top cuisine at ‘street food’ prices.
Among others, there will be top Polish chef Adrian Klonowski, the Indian rising star Garima Arora or Tekuna Gachechiladze, the star of Georgian popular cuisine. ‘Al Méni’ is dialect in the region for hands and comes from the title of a poem by Tonino Guerra.
Bottura came up with the idea for the festival 5 years ago. It is held under a circus tent inspired by the great Italian film director Federico Fellini in the square that is named after Fellini. It is aimed to be a celebration of the cuisine and produce of the region. The commune of Rimini turned the idea into an event.
The chefs that are taking part come from all corners of the world. The young Indian chef Garima Arora is head of the second restaurant of Gaggan in Thailand. On the other hand, Tekuna has a number of traditional Georgian as well as contemporary restaurants. Adrian Klonowski, the rising star of Polish cuisine has started to run the Muhu Island resort. There will be a group of young Austrian chefs from Lukas Mraz to Felix Schellhorn who cooks in a bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere.
Milena Broger and the French-Vietnamese Celine Pham are independent and take part in individual events and open pop-up restaurants to showcase their capabilities. Pedro Pena Bastos was considered to be the revelation of the year in Portugal before he an incident forced him to reflect on life. In June, he is set to open a new restaurant with just one table for 14 people in Lisbon. Santiago Lastra Rodriguez from Mexico has worked across the world from the Nordic Food Lab to support the opening of Noma Mexico.
Also taking part is the Japanese Katsumi Ishida whose restaurant in Lyon is one of the first ‘gastro bistrot’. The remaining two international chefs are Paulo Airaudo an Argentinian who has opened a restaurant in the Basque region and SImone Tondo, of the restaurant Racines in Paris.
The Italian chefs representing Reggio Emilia are Daniele Minarelli of Osteria Bottega di Bologna and Giovanna Guidetti of Fefa in Finale Emilia. Massimo Mascia from San Domenico di Imola returns for the event. Faccani has clinched a second Michelin star will co-ordinate the street-food space outside the tent.
Agostino Iacobucci adds a touch of the Campania region while using ingredients from the region while Massimiliano Poggi will explain his countryside project. Silver Succi and Claudia di Bernardo represent Rimini in the event while Fabio Rossi who moved to Taverna Righi in San Marino will also be there.
Terry Giacomello, one of the most influential young Italian chefs and Athos Migliari complete the line-up together with the sous-chef of Osteria Francescana Takahiko Kondo.
On the sea-front, some of the top ingredients of the region like Parmiggiano Reggiano, culatello, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and coffee will be showcased.
All chefs will rotate to show cook in a large kitchen and create unique dishes at ‘street food prices’. There will also be the possibility for visitors to buy produce, to eat street food and ‘gourmet ice cream’
During Al Méni, the organisers will collaborate with Food for Good as a way to fight food waste. Food that is not consumed but is edible is collected by volunteers of Onlus and then distributed to those in need. To date, the foundation Food for Good has collected 80,000 dishes and over 5,000 kilos of bread from 200 congresses, events, meeting and conventions.