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Sixth Edition of the World Week of Italian Cuisine

Every year, with the Settimana della Cucina Italiana nel Mondo (World Week of Italian Cuisine) the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes Italian cuisine in the world through its network of diplomatic offices. This year, the focus of the initiative is “Tradition and perspectives of Italian cuisine: awareness and enhancement of food sustainability”. With this theme in mind, the Consulate of Italy in Detroit, under the direction of its newly appointed Consul Paola Allegra Baistrocchi, has organized two exciting events that are going to both educate and entertain the audience, as well as the viewing of a short film on an online streaming platform.

On Sunday, November 14, at 3:30 pm (EST), Professor Andrea Segrè from the University of Bologna presented “From Food Waste to Healthy Diets: The Path Towards Sustainable Development”. The webinar focused on the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet as it promotes and favors a transition towards sustainable food systems and the reduction of food waste.

Consul Baistrocchi was able to introduce the event and touch on the numerous reasons why it is the embodiment of Italian cuisine. “Italy is a triangulation between sustainability, agriculture and cuisine. In fact, the third biggest UN center is headquartered in Rome, and it is no coincidence that it consists in the three agencies that pertain to food. This year – as President of the G20 and CoPresident of COP26 – Italy has used it position to promote the Agenda of sustainability” said Consul Baistrocchi. “We are also doing our part on climate change mitigation nationally. We are first in recycling amongst the most industrialized EU countries; 40% of our electrical energy is from renewables (and we have reached and exceeded our 2020 targets); we have 3m green jobs and our companies have made over 300 thousand eco-investments in products and technologies). We are the first country in the world to make climate change mitigation and sustainability part of our national curriculum, for all schools (primary through high school).”

This event was co-hosted by the Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan, our incredible partner in the promotion of all things Italian, and a video of the webinar is available on:

On Monday, November 15, at 6:30 pm (EST), we had an in-person event, where four renowned local chefs were able to demonstrate and serve Italian dishes that were the result of sustainable choices and elegant cuisine. The event took place at Carmela’s new demonstration kitchen and Culinary Center in Fraser. Carmela Food & Wine Distribution – as well as the chefs – are collaborated in the organization of the evening and provided ingredients (and their time) for the cooking demonstration. The amazing chefs involved were Carmela’s own Chef Mark Camaj, Chef Anthony Lombardo of SheWolf, Chef James Rigato of Mabel Gray, and Chef John Vermiglio of Grey Ghost.

The theme of sustainability could have been declined in so many ways: from pasta al forno – baked pasta dish that you can literally add anything to – to frittatas to riso saltato with leftover risotto. “We decided – on Chef Lombardo’s suggestion – to showcase recipes using pane raffermo (or leftover bread). This is indeed a great idea. Why? Did you know that according to the US Department of Agriculture, more than 12.5 million tons of bread, rolls, croissants and other baked goods go uneaten each year? Some estimate that up to one-third of all the bread made in America goes to waste, and this constitutes 19 percent of food waste in this Country. Hopefully our evening was not only a fun opportunity to try out some fantastic foods from our ‘rockstar’ chefs, but also an inspiration to make little changes in our daily habits” commented Consul Baistrocchi.

The event was limited in terms of number of participants allowed, due to prevailing circumstances, but the presence of circa 20 food bloggers/instagrammers amongst the guests allowed for our message to be shared with many more people than the health and safety regulations would have allowed for. Our social media will continue to display a number of videos and recipes from other Italian chefs in the coming days, beyond the recipes from Monday night.

To round off our week, the Consulate was very excited to be allowed to share with our audience an amazing short film: “Yes Chef” by Amy Campione. Winner of the Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum (which awards yearly grants to aspiring filmmakers to create films exploring the Italian American experience for the benefit of future generations), “Yes Chef” is the visceral tale of Corrine Bianchi, a third generation Italian American Chef who struggles to celebrate her successes as she reminisces about her past and family culture. Flashing back and forth between present day and a warm childhood holiday memory, the film shows Corrine as she delves deep within herself to discover what it means to be Italian as she aims to defend her food and her style, while honoring her family. The award was announced at The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Gala last October. The film will be available online starting today, Nov. 18, 6 pm (EST) until Sunday, November 21 (midnight, EST):