It all started when I wondered how mountain cooking could contribute to the sustainable growth of the entire planet, how the chef could promote the protection of the territory in which we live in and what could be the future of mountain food. To find the answers I started right back to my roots with another eye on current trends such as rediscovery of the local, respect for biodiversity, the spread of organic products and km 0, the mentality of slow living, the following of seasonality.
Here the goal became immediately clear: to rethink the economic-social development by investigating the relationships between production, product, territory and consumption. The starting point for this change must be cooking, intended as a "catalyst for cultural processes" for the diffusion of a model of sustainable development. With this in mind, the chef must take on the role of "emotional educator", capable of promoting a new lifestyle.
Cook the Mountain is my way of being, my way of acting.
People and human relationships are the true added value of a project.
With every new idea and creation, it remains fundamental for me to include all the actors who participate in it in some way. Farmers, breeders must be considered as the artisans who protect the territory. Their experience, their wisdom, allows us to have a pure raw material.
In the same way I have chosen to favour small producers, those who commit themselves daily with care and dedication to protect the territory and enhance the product.
With all of them I have always had a vis-à-vis, open and honest relationship; when I can involve them in some of my choices, I let myself be inspired. Their knowledge is not to be underestimated.
Nature is my natural dispensation, the best I could have.
It is based on what nature offers me in a certain period of the year that I start to create my menu, not vice versa. Following seasonality is a form of respect.
In recent years this approach has also allowed me to rediscover many varieties of fruit and vegetables that I call "forgotten" and which I often place in my dishes today.
I then started to really value the product when I reduced the waste to a minimum. From potato peelings to fish skins to vegetable cooking water, everything can become an ingredient in gourmet recipes.
Conservation also plays a fundamental role against waste. When I choose fermentation, I'm not just taking care of an ingredient, but I'm also giving it an extra value.
The idea to stimulate the meeting between chefs from the mountains or who value mountain environments, farmers, sociologists, scientists, entrepreneurs... and make it a real event-format, was born a few years ago.
Paolo Ferretti, friend, entrepreneur, and a great lover of art and culture, helped me to translate this idea into a project with international significance.
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