Last week New York City was taken by storm by one of the most delicious Fall events, Identita’ Golose NYC, a festival of Italian Food and Culture at Eataly. Identita’ Golose was created in 2004 in Milan by Paolo Marchi, a journalist and food expert with a vast experience in Italian gastronomy. Through his columns on Il Giornale, Paolo had already brought a taste of the best Italian Food in the Italian households, but it was time to showcase the most tangible aspects of Italian Cuisine with a festival, thus allowing the general public to get to know and interact with the most prominent Italian Chefs.
In 2010, Identita’ Golose arrived in New York and I was lucky to be invited to one its first demos with Davide Scabin, a chef based in Piedmont who may not be household name in the US but is one of the most creative chefs you’ll ever meet. Bewitched by the events and the artistry of the chefs involved, I attended most of the events of the past festivals. This year, to celebrate the launch of Lemonade 25, Identita’ Golose provided me with full access not only to the events but to interview the participating chefs: a dream come true. While in most cases food festivals in New York are chaotic and mismanaged, Identita’ Golose is an example of a format that works well and allows the public to meet and mingle with the chefs after seeing them in action. During the day, you can attend the demonstrations and learn from the best Italian Chefs how to recreate their dishes. At night, you get to taste exclusive creations and party with the chefs. The festival takes place at Eataly a megastore that is near and dear to me because it makes me feel back home. Naturally Mario Batali, Joe and Lydia Bastianich are involved in the festival and participate and host many events. After his demo on Friday, I met with Mario for a quick interview.
Q: Mario, thank you for meeting with Lemonade 25. We would like to know how you think Eataly and Identita’ Golose has changed the perception of Italian food in America over the years.
A: It’s really simple and you may already know the answer to this question. It’s all about publicity, telling the story to the [American] public in the right way so that they can really understand. When [the Italian Chefs] come here unapologetically they have their sexy dudes like Emeril Lagasse. You make [Italian food] look simpler and you bring it to their house in a way that is digestible. If you read a book it’s one thing, but to see it and taste it, is another thing altogether.
Q: Since you are one of the masterminds of Eataly you probably don’t crave anything, but what is the first thing you eat when you land in Italy?
A: First thing I always have is a cappuccino at the Rome airport then I drive north and I stop at the first Autogrill that I find and I have a simple panino and a beer. I don’t go to 3 Michelin star restaurants as soon as I land. I am hungry after a long flight because I don’t eat on airplanes. So a little panino and then I go to lunch, hopefully at Il Pellicano
Stay tuned for the interviews with participating chefs Cesare Battisti, Massimo Bottura and Carlo Cracco.
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