‘Research’, ‘contamination’ and ‘experimentation’ are a few buzzwords in the world of food and food service; a world that is always changing, is driven by the passion of its protagonists, but, at the same time must also respond to the main challenge of today’s market: to survive and thrive.
The positioning within such a crowded and competitive segment has never been easy. But, with such a complex search for identity, we see a new process of perennial reworking and reinterpretation of already ‘tried and tested’ formulas taking place and the new ramifications are more real by quantum leaps.
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Everything seems a bit tailor made, as if it were for the viewers of the most popular television programs. After witnessing all the slaughtering of aspiring cooks, professional chefs, students of a hotel school, pastry chefs from the world and visitors, and repeating the same format, what else should we expect? What else could surprise us?
Notice the use of the word ‘viewer’, not ‘consumer’.
We therefore wonder what it might actually mean, today, to innovate something in catering – through which channels and above all whether there is still a real edge to produce “news”.
“Yes, absolutely yes!” replies Vissia Nucci, an engineer by training and passion for food bloggers who, with his blog “Solopergusto“, has created an interesting space for exchange and comparison of companies in the industry and consumers.
“The blog began as a joke six years ago and, unexpectedly, led me to learn about products and production processes, involving both small craft industries as well as large companies. I could put my nose inside pasta factories, distilleries, large industrial kitchens, wine cellars and delicatessen of all sizes, and it is not uncommon to be called by those who want to open a restaurant for a menu trial or even to act as a judge in culinary competitions.”
She smiles and continues: “it is true: when I think about innovation and food, I have two parts of me that feel called into question: one is the food blogger who is always looking for new flavors; the other is the female engineer, who is curious about the whole progress and pragmatism. The first is firmly convinced that the kitchen is creativity – pure art, one might say, but then I bite my lips because I think, those who feel this thing is artistic live really badly.”
For Vissia, thinking that the plate has already said everything would be like admitting that there is no more future for the human genius. Game over! And it is unthinkable. So, it doesn’t matter much even if it departs from tradition and delves into pure experimentation. What counts is to never stop, to never lose curiosity and taste.
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Then there is the other, the female engineer, who sees innovation more than just the combination of two ingredients that nobody had ever thought of before. To innovate means to revolutionize and she perceives this as a need: it will be done because it is needed. But it will not be the chef to lead this change; it will be the largest food industry, made up of engineers (oops!), chemists and biologists. Then perhaps a chef would be called in to lend the final touch, or put a face on the package, even if the creation is not his/hers.
“Sad? I don’t think so! We don’t know what the future holds. There are those who already say that flour insects can help to compensate for the progressive reduction of the resources of our planet and who, at the same time, are studying less and less caloric foods to combat obesity in the rich and opulent part of the world.”
Well, maybe we cannot speak of “new” per se. But, the ability to bring together more souls and promote a less fragmented vision of the world of “food” is much needed. So while there are machineries to be renewed and recipes to be created, we must have one eye on our own backyard and take a closer look at the global issues that perhaps don’t affect us directly, but would certainly do in the times to come.