Blog Gourmet ICIF – Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners
On my recent buying trip to Italy and Piedmont in particular I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days at the ICIF – Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners. This is the special place that teaches foreign chefs from around the world to prepare and serve authentic Italian dishes so that when they return to their countries their restaurant will represent Italian food and wine just as the Italians do. The class in session in September when I was there was from Korea. All young chefs who obviously knew how to cook but they were there for about two months to become certified by the Italian master chefs. They also learned to pair the dishes with the wines of Italy.
The school is in Costigliole d’Asti, province of Piedmont and the autumn harvest was just finished. Three students were challenged to come up with an entrée for three wines that were selected. Their winning entrée’s will be marketed with the wine in the U.S. next year in 2015. What fun it was to be part of the enthusiasm these young people bring to the table. Their Master Chef and Head of the School Giancarlo Piccaretta oversees the entire education of these young chefs. The Head Sommelier of the school, Giancarlo Lercara, instructs the wine parings in a fantastic wine tasting classroom.
The school itself is situated in a “Walt Disney like” castle. The views of the vineyards and the beautiful Piedmonts hills were spectacular in the fresh fall weather. We picked left over grapes on vines that were missed in the harvest. I participated in some marketing films that will be used by both the school and the wineries on their websites. Of particular interest to me was my interview with Mr. Noé who has the reputation of being called the Godfather of Barbera d’Asti because he is a consultant and winemaker of many of the companies who produce Barbera Wine in Piedmont. He was part of the filming and was a little overwhelmed with the scripts and the production. He decided that he and I we were the elder statesmen of the entire cast, crew, winemakers, sommeliers, chefs and students.
He said that we Seniors have to stick together. He shared many of his philosophies to do with life and winemaking with me which are in the filmed interview -Great fun doing the “take” in the vineyard on that beautiful sunny , blue sky day. We concluded that winemakers and wine importers get better with age!
The cinematographer /director - Robert decided he wanted me to play some Italian music on the accordion for a scene and somehow he found an old accordion with some of the keys not working. The scene was shot and I specifically did not give my permission to use it. If you ever get to Piedmont, do visit the ICIF . The school is a jewel that will insure that the art of correct Italian cooking and wine pairing will continue to spread through the world.
I also wanted to share some recipes that The Catcher In The Wine passed on from the ICIF…they look wonderful! Click on the recipe name to get the PDF file with the recipe.