The teacher returns to being a student? Why would I after having attended culinary school over 20 years ago and since that time worked in numerous jobs and in particular in culinary education for about 13 years would I feel the need to take a 10 week class on regional Italian cuisine from the Slow Food – Italcook program in Jesi, Italy. I don’t want to be an Italian Chef, I have already been to Italy 10 times from top to bottom, I have competed in a pasta competition in Bologna the Gastronomic Capital of Italy, the home of Tagliatelle Bolognese. I have also been blessed with the opportunities to travel through much of Europe and a good bit of Asia.
Why? What am I hoping to find?
It has been a long time dream of mine to spend more than a week or two in a foreign country. I have to admit that it goes far back to the days when I cooked on the side while my real plan was to make it as a musician. I had always dreamed that I would take my punk/rock band to conquer Europe. Well that never happened and as I am likely to tell anyone, thankfully I am a much better cook than I am a guitar player. Cooking has helped me to experience the world and has helped me accomplish things that I did not think were possible.
I love Italy, the people, the food, the culture and geography. I love how they embrace the regionalism of the country. The identity of the 20 regions remains strong and don’t confuse one cheese, wine, salami, or pasta with one from another region. The school is associated with the Slow Food movement, which I have been involved with for about 10 years. I had the opportunity to be a Delegate from Charlotte to the 2006 Slow Food Terra Madre Conference in Turino, Italy and from that moment on I knew I had to do more with the movement. I hope I can find inspiration in what I discover in Italy and return to our region, our land, and turn my attentions to discovering more of what our great country has to offer.
Each week I will be reporting on the regions of Italy that I am studying along with a recipe. If the ingredients in recipe are hard to find I will offer you suggestions for replacement ingredients based upon what is available from Matthew’s Community Farmers Market and the Yorkmont Regional Market. My goal is to connect one tiny little town in Italy with the local, organic food scene in Charlotte.
Truth be told I still do like to strap on my axe and jump around like a maniac every once and while. Helps, to keep me young!