Making a show instead of simply cooking in public is the new cooking frontier and something I have been trusting in since a couple of years, because entertaining is nowadays a must: if we call it cooking “show” there must be a reason that goes towards cutting, boiling and frying.
You need to connect with people, telling them a story or simply enchain them and that’s why we have been so impressed while meeting in Toronto chef Davide Bazzali from Montreal.
It might happen that you are strolling around the delicious ancient road of Queens Street while you spot a brand new supermarket.
As food writer you are curious and when you reach the upper floor the first thing you notice -apart from food obviously- is a couple of stands (supported by THE COOKING SCHOOL) where a cook is busy in fixing a recipe.
I know why people stop at the stands and it is not simply to taste, but because they love watching other people making things.
Most of food is now delivered by a firm and people lost the sense of “how it’s made”.
A cooking show in a supermarket is therefore a nice thing to promote a product and deliver ideas.
But you might go further.
From my very little corner in the world of food, I generally tell a story and try to interact with people watching the show, because connecting with them is much more important than giving a lesson.
But I still wasn’t prepared to the next step!
All of the sudden we were attracted by a tenor voice singing some very popular Italian song: as you probably know, we Italians don’t like to show we are Italians while traveling abroad (I do believe we sometimes would like to be anything else but Italians and I call all of us xenophiles) but each of us melts down if he hears a traditional Italian song.
It’s instinctive and you can’t help it.
While it might simply be folklore at home, it is something people abroad really like because recalls them a place they have been or would like to go; it’s more or less the same thing that happens to us Italians when we hear Rock around the clock.
We nevertheless thought it was the radio and weren’t prepared to see chef Davide Bazzani singing while cooking some hand made ravioli.
People were pleased and the food was excellent: it sometimes happens that you find abroad some Italian looking food having no real correspondence in Italian cuisine, but this wasn’t the case!
Good and very simple ingredients such as ricotta, butter, sage, beets and hand made pasta all’uovo can be special to your mouth.
We chatted with Davide a bit after the show.
He comes a from Pontremoli, a village located in the beautiful environment of Lunigiana, a land between my home region Liguria and Tuscany: to make it short to people from far away, it’s Northwestern Italy, very close to the sea.
He speaks both French and English, moved to Canada (where he met his wife) 7 years ago, and owns now a restaurant in Montreal, IL BAZZALI, where he offers Italian cuisine and live songs (of course) together with the executive chef Benoît Leclère performing French Cuisine.
That’s something Canadians are crazy in: good and genuine European cuisine!
We heard from him-once more if just we needed- that Canada is the place of opportunities and freedom.
You must of course be very obedient to the rules, because law is something you may not make fun of and fees are a reality if you fail, but nobody here cares if you are white or black or yellow, Italian or Egyptian: you just need to be a good citizen.
That’s equality, that’s democracy.
Davide told something which is real here: apart from natives (that where harassed a couple of centuries ago) nobody is really native from Canada.
All Canadians come from somewhere else and this is the start point to shake off a lot of prejiudice from your shoulders.
One simple rule as “Act according to the law and you will be a good citizen no matter where you come from and what color your skin is” really is the only statement that matters.
No IF, no BUT, no PERHAPS.
The same rules for all people in the country, no exceptions.
This is also something we Europeans -and most of all we Italians- have been forgetting since long time.
So: we visited Montreal last year and have different plans for the current trip, but can we seriously forget to have dinner at IL BAZZALI next time we will come back to Canada?
And we surely will come back.