Cucina e sostenibilità: gli chef ripartono dall'orto

Cuisine and sustainability: chefs start from the garden

Sustainability in the kitchen is not just a trend, but a necessity to safeguard the planet and people's health. Cultivating your own vegetable garden, choosing seasonal and zero kilometer products, reducing waste and emissions are some of the practices that more and more Italian chefs are adopting to create quality dishes, respecting the environment and enhancing the territory. We tell you how chefs' gardens become a source of inspiration and innovation for Italian cuisine, and how the young people of Generation Z and the future chefs of the Congusto Institute can learn from these experiences.

Chefs' gardens: a growing trend

Cultivating your own vegetable garden is increasingly an opportunity for a chef to personalize and give a distinctive touch to your dishes. A way to convey a thought that embraces issues related to sustainability, product seasonality and respect for the environment. There is an ever-increasing awareness that it is necessary to recover the direct relationship with seasonal raw materials, capable of giving greater flavor in the kitchen. Often it doesn't matter where, but having a small piece of land where you can grow aromatic plants, vegetables and greens to use in your preparations is a real must.

The benefits of chefs' gardens for the environment and health

Having very fresh raw materials available and produced without the use of chemical agents, industrial fertilizers and pesticides is really important to make some preparations unique. A sort of rediscovery of forgotten flavors and an opportunity to promote responsible consumption and save money. Because the chef who takes care of his vegetable garden is ready to conserve, recycle and not throw anything away. Every waste is eliminated to the advantage of taste, freshness and also the creativity of the chef who will produce healthier dishes, with a simple and at the same time excellent flavour.

The best Italian chefs who grow their own vegetable garden

Many Italian chefs cultivate their own vegetable gardens, among the best is the three Michelin star chef Enrico Crippa of the Piazza Duomo restaurant in Alba. His vegetable garden includes a greenhouse and a plot, where organic and biodynamic vegetables, herbs and flowers are grown, which chef Crippa personally harvests every morning and which then end up in his dishes. Even the starred chef Massimo Spigaroli , in Polesine Parmense, draws the freshest raw materials from his vegetable garden at the entrance to the Antica Corte Pallavicina for a surprising and colorful cuisine. Chef Michelangelo Mammoliti (2 Michelin stars at La Rei Natura) also puts the plant world at the centre. Aromatic herbs, spices, roots and plant species that he personally grows in the garden and greenhouse are the basis on which his cooking philosophy is based. Antonia Klugmann , creates and experiments in the L'Argine restaurant in Vencò. His work starts from the vegetable garden next to the restaurant, closely linked to the wild herbs characteristic of his territory, closely linked to the concept of foraging. In the south, the vegetable garden of Peppe Guida of the Antica Osteria Nonna Rosa (1 Michelin star) overlooks the Gulf of Naples from the Sorrento peninsula, while the chef-farmer Pietro Zito of Antichi Sapori (Andria) grows the products of the garden in the a sign of patience, waiting and simplicity, with excellent results at the table.

How to follow the chefs' example and create your own vegetable garden at home or in the city

To create your own vegetable garden you don't necessarily need large spaces, you can also start from a small garden, a terrace or a balcony, or develop the vegetable garden in vertical pots. Curiosity, passion and a lot of care, together with the sun and water and the acquisition of good practices, will make the seedlings grow which will transform into healthy and truly zero kilometer aromatic herbs and vegetables.

Chefs' recipes with ingredients from the garden

The 21-31-41 salad by Enrico Crippa is very famous. The name indicates the number of shoots, flowers and leaves that compose it at different times of the year and which varies with the seasons. Giardiniera from 1991 is a dish by Michelangelo Mammoliti, where the vegetal world and the very strong acidity really manage to surprise. Another well-known dish is the green spaghetti with wild garlic, borage, lettuce, dried borage, salt grass and matcha tea by Antonia Klugmann. These are just some of the most famous dishes.

All these experiences are the result of passion, research and talent. If you also want to become a successful chef, at Congusto Institute you have the opportunity to prepare by attending professional cooking courses respecting ethics and sustainability. You will learn the basics, techniques and everything that is necessary to carry out a profession with passion and competence.

Contact us for more information and come and discover the universe of the Congusto Institute.
We are waiting for you in the classroom!

On the cover photo of Enrico Crippa's cuisine (credits: Facebook Ristorante Piazza Duomo)

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