Identita Golose kicked off its seventh edition in the US at Chicago's own Eataly last weekend. Its theme, "Don't Waste the Planet," a hot topic in the culinary community, brought together some of the world's most talented chefs in this celebration of all things Italian. In intimate cooking seminars, these chefs, using the latest culinary techniques, taught their captive audience how to get the most out of some of the most humble ingredients. Hosted by everyone's favorite Italian Nonna, the venerable Chef Lidia Bastianich, this outstanding lineup of culinary events was open to the public.Mario Batali. "Identita Golose brings the greatest culinary practitioners and adventurers to US each year. And we invite all of our customers to join in the fun, so we American consumers can better understand how produce can be treated to achieve its peak deliciousness. And they can do it all while drinking a glass of wine." Chef Giancarlo Perbellini of two Michelin star Casa Perbellini in Verona, and Chicago's own Chef Sarah Grueneberg of critically acclaimed Monteverde. Both chefs demonstrated dishes that, in line with event's theme "Don't Waste the Planet," used underrated and overlooked ingredients in their dishes. While sipping on Guido Berlucchi Franciacorta and noshing on Grana Padano cheese, we watched and took notes on how to make gnocchi out of day old polenta, how to enrich broth with Grana Padano rind, and how to use the whey left behind after making homemade ricotta to make delicious Cacio Whey Pepe pasta. Each dish was beautifully paired with a water, a wine and a beer. We watched seasonal ingredients get treated with utmost care while chefs told us about their inspiration. Quite the inspiration themselves, they took a bow together. Two hours had flown by. I walked away educated. Calvisius caviar is going to be a good day, I thought to myself looking down at my plate. Chefs Carlo Cracco, Michael Tusk, Giancarlo Perbellini and Eataly's Rob Wing all took turns at the pass, producing a stellar four-course meal, not counting the cheese course. Smoked egg rolled dramatically in vegetable ash gave way to sunchoke pasta. Melting lamb shoulder, selection of cheeses, buttermilk crostata and Lavazza espresso... By the end of the meal I was ready to move to Italy. Once again, each course was paired masterfully with a water, a wine and a beer. Swoon worthy.
Identita swiftly moved on to New York City. But the message remained. Even the most humble things can have their turn in the spotlight when handled with care. Don't waste the planet. Be mindful in your cooking and in your shopping. Learn Italian. After all, you only live once.
Identita Golose took place at Eataly Chicago, 43 East Ohio Street in Chicago's Gold Coast.
The Local Tourist press access to Identita Golose events courtesy of Wagstaff Worldwide.
All photos by Gourmet Rambler.