<My Life in Italy>
“Delicious dishes surely bring people happiness.”
This simple thought has made me what I am as an Italian chef.
After I graduated from high school, I decided to go for a trip in Asia and Europe to find the best dish that would satisfy my thought. During the trip, I visited Italy, where I found not only that its dishes were delicious, but that people there seemed to really enjoy eating itself, which fascinated me and led me to decideto find a job there. As I fortunately found one restaurant which would allow me to work there without salary in Florence, I returned to Japan to get a temporary working visa, then started the life as a cook there.
What surprised me most in the life there was the fact that Italian people are not just the people who like to eat. For example, my coworkers were so severe even on cooking their own meals that they exchanged their opinions or even argued with each other to make those meals delicious one. And when I visited some towns after I came to understand Italian language, I found that people there also like to talk about their dishes, exchange the way to cook, which had made the dishes of each town unique. That’s why Italian people respect the chefs as artists who have the ability of deepening their original culture on cooking. In fact, you can find the word of ‘artist’ in the working visa that I got before the trip. After realizing this, I always dropped in at a bar first to ask them to give me some information about their own original dishes whenever I visited a town for the first time. Some people might prefer eating just what they like to being offered the dishes they have never had, but from my experience in Italy, I would like to say it’s worth trying because it would give them a chance to discover their own new taste, and also bring them a new happiness.
<The name of Symposium>
As for the name of our restaurant “Cucina Italiana Symposium”, Giuditta, whose mother Donatella is one of my friends and a creative Italian chef in Marche, gave me the idea of using the word of ‘Symposium’. In the ancient Rome, some learned people often held banquets called symposium, where they shared their own knowledge, made poems, or talked about politics, enjoying music and nice wines, which resulted in forming its original culture. So I’ve decided to put the word of ‘Symposium’, which is also known to Japanese people as a Latin word, in the name for our restaurant, hoping the customers would enjoy Italian culture in the way that Italian people have been developing for centuries.
We attach importance to coming up with various ideas with ingredients that we can get in each season in our own country. We offer dishes of good quality at popular prices, through which you will see Italian tradition, and we also introduce seasonal ingredients from Toyama, making beautiful harmony with Italian ingredients, which we are sure makes our Italian dishes much unique, ensuring food safety.
<About Italian dishes>
Some people say that Italian dishes are just invented from the idea of each area in Italy and they cannot see the original Italian dishes. I can agree to this opinion in some parts, but I cannot help admiring Italian people who has been inventing new dishes by using seasonal ingredients found in their land. Nowadays we see many kinds of dishes which are made with imported ingredients, and actually I’m often impressed by these creative ideas. But it is also true that a lot of people in the world have loved traditional dishes for centuries, which I believe means that they know the long history of cooking has deepened these dishes and made them unique and special.
Having graduated from high school, I traveled around Asia and Europe only with a backpack, sampling various kinds of food.
At Ristrante Giglio Rosso, Florence, Tuscany
I started to work as a trainee cook. After that, they hired me as a cook, and I worked there for five years. I learned traditional dishes of Tuscany, especially stewed or grilled meat dishes.
At L’osteria del Cucco, Urbania, Marche
I met some local producers there and I learned the importance of local seasonal ingredients, and of ensuring food safety by making the information on producer public. I spent there for two years.
At Ristrante Luigi Pomata, Cagliari, Sardegna
I learned advanced local dishes, which are based on local ingredients with various ideas. And I helped its chef as an assistant when he joined some big events several times. I also spent there for two years.