`Cooking Congress Prompts Chefs to Explore Ancient Mediterranean Cuisine - Olive Oil Times

Cooking Congress Prompts Chefs to Explore Ancient Mediterranean Cuisine

By Sadie Baker
Oct. 16, 2014 08:59 UTC
M/S Raffaele Rubattino

The first annual Mediterranean Cooking Congress offered chefs from eight Mediterranean nations the oppor­tu­nity to explore the roots of their cook­ing her­itage. Twenty-eight chefs spent two days aboard the Tirrenia ves­sel Raffaele Rubattino in Naples prepar­ing recipes passed down from their ances­tors and com­bin­ing tech­niques unique to their coun­tries.

The Congress also brought the chance to dig deeper into the ori­gins of mod­ern Mediterranean cui­sine. Chefs and stu­dents alike took time to explore how each cul­ture has influ­enced today’s pop­u­lar Mediterranean dishes.

Luisa del Sorbo

The idea for the event came to orga­nizer, Luisa del Sorbo, upon notic­ing the lack of con­sis­tency in the prepa­ra­tion of tra­di­tional dishes from nation to nation. She felt that bring­ing chefs from the var­i­ous Mediterranean nations together — both to exchange tech­niques and to unearth tra­di­tional prepa­ra­tion meth­ods — would bring back the lost con­sis­tency while diver­si­fy­ing the cui­sine at the same time.

Italian chef, Francesco Fichera, one of the chefs aboard for the Congress, reported that study­ing pri­mor­dial Mediterranean cui­sine on board the Tirrenia inspired him to pre­pare ancient dishes for his part in the event. Selections such as Garum,’ the first recipe for Roman sea­son­ing, were cooked over a fire in the fash­ion of Fichera’s ances­tors.

Jorge Fernandes

Both Portuguese chef, Jorge Fernandes, and Spanish chef, Carlos Peña, agreed that the Congress was an invalu­able oppor­tu­nity to exchange expe­ri­ences with other chefs while dis­play­ing and devel­op­ing each chef’s own skills. Fernandes noted that, as cui­sine becomes a dri­ving force behind Mediterranean tourism, it is advan­ta­geous for chefs to work together to improve and unify the cui­sine expe­ri­ence through­out the nations.

After the suc­cess of the first Congress, the sec­ond annual Mediterranean Cooking Congress was announced to take place in Opatija, Croatia, in October 2015.


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