In the first Worldwide Italian Cuisine Week promotes food, agriculture and the entire Italy system, inaugurating a new cooperation model between private and institutional bodies.
The first ever Settimana della Cucina Italiana nel Mondo, Worldwide Italian Cuisine Week is an example of overall cooperation between Italy and its many references in all 5 continents: cultural institutes, embassies, private companies restaurants, cooking schools organically acting as spontaneous idea and project collectors.
At the official presentation in Rome October 26th triggered a participation at the crucial talks addressed on the Food Act gathering participants like Mipaaf (Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies), MAECI (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation), MIUR (Ministry of Education, University and Research).
Food drives system-Italy
“These are actions intended to extend the key points of Expo over time”, says Secretary Paolo Gentiloni underlining the importance of making good use of the Milan Expo heritage which pointed a huge light on Italian food exports. Now it’s time to leave our comfort zone and bring the Italian food scene abroad, with a multi-tier response. On one end boosting tourism satellite-activities, on the other Italy’s food export, including internationalization of local Italian business as well as regaining starring position in artisan productions. Italian institutional structures are spread across the 5 continents, and promote Italian food. “Diplomat bodies become a vehicle to promote food” continues Gentiloni “and with it inherent cultural and economic value”. Let’s not forget Italian food export is worth 37 billion Euro that will hit 50 billion by the year 2020. Operations like this are crucial for the improvement of the Italy-system. In the past week other vents concurred to this, like Stati Generali della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo (Italian Language Worldwide) held in Florence, or D-Day, Italian Design Day this coming March 4th, or the upcoming Milan Salone del Mobile in China. “The diplomatic network acts to bring Italy abroad”. A tight-knit team and not a union of individuals in order to be represented as a unique and characteristic element of Italy, according to Maurizio Martina.
The Secretary of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies continues: “Food becomes an ambassador of Italy” Seeing how it can promoter the Italian history and culture: “Food is also political” continues Martina, prospecting a kind of soft power using food culture to support the country’s products, producers, production areas and so forth. “We must strengthen the bonds between tutelage and producers who are the backbone of our food system, and often the less visible link in the chain, thus the weakest link”. Defending and promoting our artisanal know how, which happens to be our most distinctive trait.
The project creates incredible synergy between Italian cuisine representatives (chefs, pizza makers, gelato makers, pastry chefs), as well as between various institutions. True “teamwork” as defined by Vice Secretary Ivan Scalfarotto (Economic Development) “which implies further synergy regarding funds made available by ICE”. This model must be replicated in all tiers of Italian excellence like cinema, design, publishing, fashion, as well as the less visible, but equally important, like mechanics.“Whether it’s construction materials to build a bridge over the Bosphorous, or a glass of wine, what’s important is that what’s being purchased be Italian”. To bring worthy Italian entrepreneurs abroad Scalfarotto suggests “commercial missions” by also simply bypassing the limits of the commercial network and making good use of technology, online sales to increase export. Think e-commerce behemoth Alibaba that sustains Italian wine sales in China. While France can export 60 million litres of wine, Italy exports less than 10 million. A gap that can be filled thanks to novel technology. “Ideally a network in which each element sustains the next: cuisine promotes and illustrates areas and their native products”, explains Cristina Bowerman (chef and President of Associazione Ambasciatori Italiani del Gusto, Italian taste ambassadors). Cooks have to take on this responsibility.
The responsibility of narration
That same responsibility must be met by Rai, explains CEO Antonio Campo Dall’Orto. Italian television through its channels, journalists and newsrooms abroad with an outreach extending over the 5 continents takes on the task of narration “the true Italian system, cultural and traditional know how, that is however vulnerable”. Ideally fostering cooperation within the overall Italy brand and not individual Italian brands. This is the only way to be present and competitive on the international markets. This needs multiple platforms. Think FICO, theme park in Bologna due to gather the best in Italian food and agriculture in September 2017 as presented by CEO Tiziana Primori. Another example is the 30-year experience of Gambero Rosso in the field of study, appreciation and promotion of Italian cuisine and wine in the world. President Paolo Cuccia sees it also as an entrepreneurial outlook to seek out promising markets, strategies to shed light on the great virtues of Italian food. As well as the role of Casa Artusi spreading knowledge of Italian food traditions worldwide.
“This is only the beginning”, assures Vincenzo De Luca (General Director of Promozione del Sistema Paese): a festive moment that puts various synergies in motion. Without ever overlooking the importance of education “With MIUR we are designing a global teaching offer with masters, universities, hotel management schools and cooking schools. This includes stages for young Italian chefs abroad including in the Italian diplomatic network”. Overall partnerships are at the focus of these cooperations. During Worldwide Italian Cuisine Week the entire world is dealing with cuisine and using the Italian food network to broadcast it. The synergy between design and cuisine is further addressed by Roberto Snaidero, president of Federlegno, who wishes to create exchange between two important fields, and with Salone del Mobile as a magnificent example of promoting Italian export worldwide.
Ministries in synergy aim at important goals with permanent initiatives. For starters, the 1360 events in 110 countries worldwide. To learn more there’s a website and an official hashtag #ItalianTaste as well as social platforms: Twitter: @ItalyMFA (https://twitter.com/ItalyMFA?lang=it) Facebook: Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale (https://www.facebook.com/ItalyMFA.it/).
Settimana della Cucina Italiana nel Mondo | 21-27 November 2016 | http://eventisistemapaese.esteri.it/Eventi/cucinaitalianamondo/index.asp
by Antonella De Santis
translated by Eleonora Baldwin