Pollenzo Food Lab
The Pollenzo Food Lab is an integral part of the University of Gastronomic Sciences. It has a classroom that can accommodate up to 24 students, a gastronomic classroom with 4 large tables for practical exercises, and a professional kitchen.
The cookery school was launched in early 2014, along with two innovative Master programs in Italian cuisine. The team behind the project consisted of the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini, the Slow Food gastronomic event manager, Maura Biancotto, and included the professor of Molecular Science and Biochemistry of Taste, Gabriella Morini, two former students, Eugenio Signoroni (curator of the Slow Food guide to the Osterie d’Italia) and Lapo Querci (chef of the Tavole Accademiche), as well as a team of notable chefs: Vittorio Fusare, Pier Giorgio Parini, and Galdino Zara.
HIstory & Mission
Often the best ideas come about when different points of view meet. The Pollenzo Food Lab was created out of a dialog among people with diverse backgrounds whose thoughts converged in a single, innovative project.
What, in your opinion, is the added value of the new Pollenzo Food Lab?
“Today there is a lot of media frenzy around cooking and cooks. They are talked about everywhere, often inanely. We intend to offer a different vision to the students of our school. We want them to meet and talk with the people who produce the ingredients and to learn to treat produce, farmers and the land with respect. The complexity of the values in play in any kitchen is huge and must be addressed with a holistic approach to ensure that good cooking is more and more a conscious expression of local areas and the people who live in them.” Carlo Petrini, president of the University of Gastronomic Sciences and Slow Food
“The school will set out to establish a new concept of gastronomy, in step with the times. It will teach cooks and gastronomes concern for the foods of their local areas and how to use new technologies with a reverential eye on the recipes of the past.” Galdino Zara, Da Paeto
“This isn’t just a school of practical cookery, and it won’t simply provide a technical grounding. Its added value is that it operates within the context of UNISG, ensuring a more complete training. The experience offered in traditional osterias and restaurants will be fundamental, giving students first-hand experience of Italian gastronomy in all its different variations.” Pier Giorgio Parini, Osteria Povero Diavolo
“By integrating the philosophy of Slow Food, the school will place an emphasis on pleasure, conviviality, and the desire to make people happy. We don’t intend to feature other cultures, but rather to let people in search of Italy have Italy and nothing else. Here it will be possible to learn about the Italian gastronomy, history and culture that are envied around the world.” Vittorio Fusari, Dispensa Pani e Vini
“The Pollenzo Food Lab will be the only school to teach technique by starting out from the primary ingredients. Only by being familiar with every aspect of an ingredient—not only flavor and biological structure, but also historical, social and environmental background—can you prepare it correctly and bring out its best. This is the main aim of UNISG’s cookery school: to train cooks who are not only good, but also expert and aware. No one else can do this better than the people who have always put the principles of ‘good, clean and fair’ at the center of their approach to food.” Eugenio Signoroni, editor of Slow Food’s Osterie d’Italia guide
“To get to know and understand traditional recipes, you have to have a good grounding in science and culture, a knowledge of chemistry but also of the history of food. This Master program combines theory with skills acquired through practical lessons, internships in osterias and restaurants, and discussion.” Lapo Querci, chef at UNISG’s Academic Tables
“The school’s unique syllabus—two months in Pollenzo, three months in an osteria, two months in Pollenzo, three months in an Italian restaurant, one month in Pollenzo—will allow students to share their experiences and the recipes they will have learnt during their internships at osterias and restaurants in the classroom. We intend to place the emphasis on sharing, not on competition. Classic individual cooking stations will be replaced by longer working surfaces, allowing students to be closer to the chefs and to talk to them more.”
Maura Biancotto, event manager for Slow Food Italia