Thursday, September 13, 2007

Where is the "Cutting-Edge" Modern Italian Kitchen?

Famous eaters of all sorts have been flocking to Spain to see chefs like Ferran Adrià cook their modern molecular gastronomy, and the result has left many asking "Where is Italy now?" and mocking the slow food movement as archaic. One quote from Stephen Shaw the founder of eGullet was: "Italy's big selling point is "We cook the same food our grandparents cooked, we hate change, our food is simple and old-fashioned, if you walk ten feet you're in a different region, hooray for Slow Food . . . "

Let us please be fair to Italy. In the context of historical cuisine, Italy has really done her share. In fact, I ask you to name one country in all of Europe (or the world) that has contributed more. It was Catherine de Medici that introduced the whole concept of chefs to France, in fact, France should get on her knees in thanks for the Italian contributions to her kitchen. In the 15th century when the most of the world was poking each other with pointy sticks the Italians were building the Sistine Chapel.

Let's also be honest, until recently, what has Spain given the culinary world besides tapas and paella? They have precious little to lose by propagating a fad.

Perhaps the Italians are just sitting the current culinary revolution out.

Don't worry, even today, when Italy cooks, the whole world watches.


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