6 Ottobre 2017

LSDM 2018, The Modern Chef’s Manifesto: Eat Well And Stay Well – MedWay. Paestum 23 – 24 May

On visiting Naples shortly after the Second World War, the US doctor Ancel Keys was amazed to learn that there was no Cardiology ward in the city’s hospital. This was not owing to lack of funds but, more simply, to a lack of heart diseases.

This led him to conduct an in-depth study in Italy, Spain, Greece and Morocco to get to the bottom of the question.

Keys, who spent a significant part of his life at Pioppi, in the Cilento area, ended up by theorizing that the absence of heart disease among the Mediterranean populations was due to their lifestyle and diet. Hence the debut of the Mediterranean Diet.

Ancel and Margaret Keys managed to upend the scientific milieu and all the pre-existing convictions on food, thanks to three widely read publications: Eat well and stay well, The benevolent bean, How to eat well and stay well. The Mediterranean way.

How to put this theory to work in the kitchen will be the main topic of the talks given by chefs at the next editions of LSDM: the vast world of vegetables, pulses, extra virgin olive oil, dried pasta, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella from Campania and locally caught fish are the typical products of the Mediterranean basin.

We also believe that the chef’s role is increasingly pivotal, as a creator of joy and the mentor of his customers. Starting from the 1900s, a century of great discoveries for mankind, food became a status symbol and not just a basic human need, essential for survival. So much so, that it also started to appear in literature. A perfect example is Ulysses by James Joyce, a landmark in the evolution of the modern novel, in which Leopold Bloom’s love of food is described.

Today’s chef is not waging a war against famine, but he is the driving force of a renewed food and environmental awareness; he is a carrier of expertise with regard to ingredients and technical innovation. He is endowed with a new social status, as never before in the past: he has become a protagonist in implementing a dietary model, one that responds to the needs of a contemporary lifestyle, but without sacrificing the enjoyment of dining and conviviality which underlies our food culture.

In the last 10 years – declare Barbara Guerra and Albert Sapere, curators of the congress – we have had the good fortune to closely observe the haute cuisine of Italian restaurants. A cuisine which, also thanks to the fact that chefs have become media darlings, has assumed a new social function. It is not sufficient, in today’s world, to know how to produce good food that is technically and stylistically correct. Other factors have come to the fore, such as the diners’ wellbeing at the table, the sustainability of ingredients used to prepare the dishes, the importance attached to vegetables, the definition of a dietary model and, as a consequence, one of sustainable catering. To our mind, these topics have become increasingly pertinent; we do not wish to ostracize any particular food but merely apply common sense, for the good of our customers and our planet.

For the above reasons, we are presenting a ten-point manifesto from which, in our opinion, today’s Italian chefs can draw inspiration for creating their menus:

1. Serve fruit and vegetables, in savoury and sweet dishes, with a preference for seasonal produce;
2. Use more extra virgin olive oil than any other fat;
3. Do not disdain dried pasta, a universally recognized symbol of Italian food;
4. Make an increased use of vegetable proteins – such as pulses – and contribute to recovering the traditional varieties to be found all over Italy;
5. Purchase from sustainable farming and breeding activities, with a preference for traceable products;
6. Valorise small-scale local craftsmen, with a preference for good practices rather than just local ones;
7. Respect local food traditions and the peculiar characteristics of your terroir;
8. Cater for the special dietary needs of your customers and, in general, serve well balanced dishes from a nutritional point of view;
9. In the kitchen, use technology as a tool to improve on tradition, not as an end in itself;
10. Be ready to dialogue with colleagues worldwide, to facilitate interdisciplinary contaminations.

LSDM is an international congress of haute cuisine aimed at investigating the potential of quality Italian agricultural produce in the hands of great chefs.

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