by Enzo Coccia
We are counting down the days to May 1st when in Milan starts the world’s biggest exhibition on food. The theme is, in fact, “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life”.
The Expo 2015 is not only for Italy and the Italians, insiders and not, a turning point. As the host country and keeper of centuries-old culinary traditions, ancient techniques and manual skills, full of biodiversities and endless natural beauties, we have to tell our story excellently.
I borrow some phrases of John F. Kennedy’s acceptance speech of the nomination for United States President, held on 15 July 1960, which I consider emblematic. In the presence of 80,000 people, Kennedy said: “We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier. But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises—it is a set of challenges. A frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats”.
Opportunities, but also challenges and perils: these are the words to ponder because the most important event on nutrition will offer, undoubtedly, great opportunities but will also reveal a multitude of threats if we do not prepare ourselves to revolutionize the way we conceive, in the double meaning of creating and thinking about, what we eat. Whether it is a restaurateur or a housewife, a journalist or a student, a baker or a politician, we all have to look into a “new frontier”.
In particular, the artisan of pizza have to come to EXPO abandoning the old way of thinking and doing, linked to the figure of the pizzaiolo locked in his shop and mere executor of the orders, without having any scientific knowledge, being able to distinguish the quality of the products that stuff the dough disc, having idea of how to handle and combine them properly, not to mention the calorie count of what you eat during an evening in a pizzeria.
The Neapolitan pizza will have the eyes of 144 Countries focused on it. It would be necessary, then, to continue the journey and deepen what has already been undertaken by a new generation of Neapolitan pizzaiuoli who, with the centennial knowledge behind, are ready and willing to the deepening of all the things that are related to the Neapolitan dish.
This is the only way to keep also the pizza away from misunderstandings and bad imitations, the threats which the thirty-fifth President of the United States spoke, by those who, from all over the world, will flock to Milan.
Sadly, I am aware that the institutions are still absent: the Municipality, the Region, and the Province, in view of the international reunion, have not planned anything yet. Just on December 29, the City Council signed the contract between the city and Padiglione Italia, which now organises the spaces reserved for regions and metropolitan cities. However, it is an empty container, devoid of original ideas and true strategies for our territory promotion.
I strongly believe in the utter need of acting together and promoting a close cooperation among the protagonists of the event because we are the future of the Italian economy and young people who move between tourism and hospitality, agriculture and environmental resources, security, transport, cultural heritage and activities.
Everyone should take his own thread to weave a network that is able to trap firmly all the pieces of the great gastronomic mosaic.