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Carlo Cracco. Want to be cool? Respect what you eat

Taste / -

Carlo Cracco img rif
@ Chico De Luigi

Elaborate dishes, slow cooking and expensive ingredients? Forget it. The most acclaimed chef of the moment, Carlo Cracco, when he's hungry eats bread and salami or a piadina, and as for his kids (all four of them), he cooks them lasagne. But the bottom line is clear: respect what you eat.

You wrote a book on Italian regional recipes: A qualcuno piace Cracco (Some Like Cracco). So what would you serve at your restaurant to a visitor from abroad, here in Milan for Expo Milano 2015, who has never eaten real Italian cooking?
I would say a good risotto, perhaps with saffron. As a final touch I would add some grué cocoa and coriander sauce.
 
You are one of the Ambassadors of Expo Milano 2015 and Roberto Maroni has appointed you the Ambassador of Taste for the Lombardy Region. What were the first "acts" of your new role?
A little while ago, together with the other ambassadors, we were at the first official meeting with all of the foreign delegations to discuss the next steps to be taken to promote our territory.

Your best known book is titled Se vuoi fare il figo usa lo scalogno  (If You Want to Be Cool, Use Shallots) Here is a riddle for you. Complete the sentence, thinking about the theme of Expo Milano 2015 Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life: "If you want to be cool ..."
If you want to be cool, respect what you eat!

Which of the foreign Pavilions pique your curiosity the most and which will you be visiting as soon as the doors open for the Universal Exposition?
I expect a lot from Japan and the African countries.

A third of the food produced worldwide is wasted. Can you give some practical advice to reducing waste in the kitchen?
Get proper training, beginning with children, on how to eat and how to do the shopping. All that’s needed is a little attention when buying food and a few secrets to use up leftovers.

You have become a new Dad again: what is a good recipe for children?
My children love lasagne.

You  are always cooking for others, but what is your daily diet?
I am never without bread and sausage in the fridge at home. 

We saw you on the cover of GQ with a stunning nude model who is holding a fish. Has becoming a sex symbol created problems?
I don’t think I'm a sex symbol. 

What is your guilty pleasure when eating?   
A piadina romagnola.

Do you ever go on a diet?
I always try to limit myself.

What is your favorite "ethnic" ingredient?
Fresh turmeric.

Which spice is essential in the kitchen?
I really like contrasts because often two flavors together such as capers and licorice can be really explosive for the palate. 

In your opinion, what will this Universal Exposition leave us? 
Greater awareness and the desire to do a good job, trying to promote it as much as possible around the world. 
 
The man who loves eggs
Columbus’s egg? No, Cracco’s egg.  (L'Uovo di Colombo  - Columbus’s egg is an expression used in Italian,  referring to  finding a simple solution to a seemingly impossible problem) It’s a simple ingredient that the chef loves and it is the focus of one of his  most famous dishes. In the recipe, the yoke is marinated and then lightly breaded and fried, accompanied by a light Parmesan fondue. In one of his most unusual books, La quadratura dell’uovo (Squaring the egg)  he offers four recipes to experience the simple egg in a new form, that of a square.

Who is he?
Those who know him simply as the tough judge of Masterchef Italy should also know that Carlo Cracco has worked hard all his life to carve out a place in the history of great Italian cuisine. A Vicentino globetrotter, he was born in 1965, and as a graduate in hotel management landed himself a place in the kitchens of Gualtiero Marchesi in Milan. But his calling was to see the world and he followed his instinct: first working with Alain Ducasse in Monaco, then Alain Senderens in Paris, and finally in Florence, at the Enoteca Pinchiorri, winner of 3 Michelin stars in 1994, after having learned the best of world cuisines, felt the need to go home, back to his first teacher, next to Gualtiero Marchesi at the Albereta di Erbusco, in Franciacorta. After two years he felt ready to fly solo, running the first of his own restaurants, Le Clivie Piobesi d'Alba (Cuneo), which in one year won a star. In 2001, a new Cracco-Peck chapter began in Milan, winning two Michelin stars for three years running, and becoming his own restaurant, then named in his honor. After much work back in the kitchen, a new era begins with Cracco as the unstoppable showman: as author, TV presenter, testimonial for a variety of products; and as Ambassador of Expo Milano 2015, enthusiastically promoting the themes of the Universal Exposition, talking about respect for ingredients, haute cuisine and sustainability.
 
 

Moreno Cedroni. Treat parsley like caviar

Taste / -

moreno cedroni img rif

With two Michelin stars, an abundance of irony and creativity, the chef Cedroni Moreno, owner of the restaurant La Madonnina del Pescatore in the province of Ancona, talks to us about his love of ingredients and cooking, between tradition and reinterpretation, including sushi and susci.

What started your love of cooking?
I come from the Marches, where traditional cuisine and traditional recipes are very good. My grandmother and my mom cooked very well and I grew up with those flavors, with those little sauces, with its aromas and recipes: I think my mom put clam sauce in baby bottle. My childhood was perfect gastronomically speaking, so that when I grew up I thought I was born at zero kilometer because I was on the sea front and behind our house my grandmother had farm animals and a vegetable garden. I had everything and with all these flavors I could not do anything but be a chef.

Tell us something about your reworking of sushi in "susci"?
It was around 2000 and I was tired of eating the first Italian-style sushi with slices of fish bathed in vinegar and lemon, while on the other hand were the sushi, there were the maki, wet with soy sauce so practically one flavor tasted like the other. With my "susci" I tried to give each fish its perfect recipe, so much so that even if you eat a yellowtail with leek sauce and basil or violets it is not like eating raw fish. From there I continued, as all this seemed simple, raising the bar and creating each year a theme of the menu for raw food. So there was the year of "susci in color", the year of "susci flower child ", the year of "wild susci", of "British susci", of "fabulous susci" inspired by fairy tales and this year was the year of " literary susci" in which Leopardi had the upper hand. Among his 49 favorite ingredients I drew on 5 or 6 and built a dedicated menu. In 1809, when Leopardi was 11 years old, he wrote a poem entitled "I hate soup", so I made ​​a fake soup, as if wanting to make him smile. I used a number of his favorite ingredients, like spinach, honey, tuna and egg.
 
In the names of your creations and in the composition of your dishes there is a real twist of irony. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I always tried to make simple things complex and especially in the kitchen I had to give lightening messages; so with the right idea and the right name a recipe takes on a certain irony. But then it must still be good of course. But when you say the "bounty of sepia" or say a "simmenthal fish" a customer already starts to smile and is already on a different wavelength.

Through cooking you can learn a lot; so what about respect for the environment?
In cooking you learn many things, from sociability, respect for the environment, respect for people, respect for raw materials. I teach others to treat parsley like caviar – that is as if the parsley were invaluable for all the work that's gone on to produce it. I really fight waste and tell all young people that before being a good cook one must be a good person.

What are the foods that you cannot give up either both as a cook and as a person?
Without doubt extra virgin olive oil and Jerusalem artichokes. They are my favorite ingredients: oil, because it represents our land and allows us to produce a light recipe; the Jerusalem artichoke, because it has a taste, a mineral essence, and a connection with the earth that is unique.
You are an Ambassador of Expo Milano 2015, whose theme is Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. Speaking of food and respect for the Planet, what does sustainability mean to you in the kitchen?
Above all, it means respect for ingredients, and for two years, for example, I abandoned the bluefin tuna for albacore. There are messages that we chefs at the forefront can give by taking action, both in what we do in every day because it serves as an example for young people and schools, but also for normal people who cook at home.
 
 

From the Corn and Avocado Flavor of Mexico to the Gutturnio From Piacenza… A Festival of Special Edition Ice Creams

Taste / -

 
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Gutturnio wine ice cream at Piazzetta Piacenza
Four new flavors of ice cream made from Poretti beer at the Italian Pavilion.
© Padiglione Italia
Poretti beer ice cream at Piazzetta Piacenza
Tomato ice cream served on slices of bread at Piazzetta Piacenza
Helados de Paila ice cream made with premium cocoa from Ecuador and coconut sugar, at the Cocoa and Chocolate Cluster
© Andrea Proietti
Fig ice cream at the Bahrain Pavilion
© Francesco Cappa
Basil sorbet created by chef Davide Oldani
Mourad Balti Touati © Expo 2015
Watermelon and mint ice cream at Gelateria Rigoletto
Mourad Balti Touati © Expo 2015
Champagne and grapefruit granita at the Monaco Pavilion
Panettone ice cream at the Cereals and Tubers Cluster
Avocado ice cream and corn ice cream at the Mexico Pavilion
The chocolate and ice cream-based "Choco cocktail" at the Cocoa and Chocolate Cluster
© Andrea Proietti
Caffarel Gianduia ice cream
Andrea Mariani © Expo 2015
Ice cream packaged in Austria
Dame Blanche, with whipped cream and dark Belgian chocolate, at the Belgium Pavilion
Date ice cream at the Bahrain Pavilion
Andrea Mariani © Expo 2015
My Magnum at the Magnum Pleasure Store
Andrea Mariani © Expo 2015
Nutella ice cream at Expo Milano 2015
Andrea Mariani © Expo 2015
Vanilla ice cream from Israel at Expo Milano 2015
Andrea Mariani © Expo 2015
White melon granita from Sweet Sicily, in the Bio-Mediterraneum Cluster
Andrea Mariani © Expo 2015
Alpine milk ice cream
Andrea Mariani © Expo 2015
Grana Padano ice cream from Copagri at Expo Milano 2015
Andrea Mariani © Expo 2015
Pernigotti ice cream at Expo Milano 2015
Giulia Mazzoleni © Expo 2015
Foody-flavored ice cream from Rigoletto at Expo Milano 2015
Andrea Mariani © Expo 2015
Baobab ice cream at the Angola Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015
Andrea Mariani © Expo 2015

The Ferragosto holiday was an ideal day for proposing new ideas, experiments and surprising typical ingredients from different countries, sponsors and Pavilions… all expressed with ice cream, or "gelato" as they say in Italy. A triumph of deliciousness!

Various Pavilions took advantage of this special occasion to inaugurate new flavors, or to offer one-day tasting events to spread awareness of the gastronomic possibilities of ice cream. The Bahrain Pavilion proposed a new Fig Ice Cream recipe. Monte Carlo offered a delicious granita with Champagne Riviera and pink grapefruit. Israel a free tasting event with four new flavors. In Palazzo Italia, Rigoletto Ice Cream and the Poretti Brewery provided ice creams based on four special beers and one new invention, watermelon with mint.
 
Mexico was rightly proud of two typical and extremely fragrant flavors: avocado and corn, with crushed and toasted flakes of corn incorporated. In Piazzetta Piacenza an entire afternoon was devoted to tasting ice creams made from local ingredients like pumpkin, local craft beers, organic tomatoes, asparagus and an extravagant version with Gutturnio red wine. In the Cocoa and Chocolate Cluster, already well-stocked with ice cream stalls, a tasting event featured traditional pure cocoa ice cream, followed up by inebriating cocktails with ice cream.
 
A festival whose goodness was not only gastronomic: for example, the initiative by
Algida Ice Creams, which throughout the day sold its Share the Love cone at one euro, with the profits devoted to Save the Children projects, and Rigoletto Ice Creams which twinned the launch of its new watermelon and mint flavor with support for social initiatives.
 
 
 

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