`Cooking Congress Prompts Chefs to Explore Ancient Mediterranean Cuisine

Food & Cooking

Cooking Congress Prompts Chefs to Explore Ancient Mediterranean Cuisine

Oct. 16, 2014
Sadie Baker

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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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