Shanghai, China, October 13th, 2022 — The promotion of Italian gastronomic culture in China has long been a core mission of the ITA – Italian Trade Agency. On the occasion of The Italy-China Year of Culture and Tourism in 2022, which offers an extraordinary opportunity to encounter two great countries, the Embassy and Consulates of Italy in the P.R.C. and ITA are sparing no effort to continuously promote the Italian Culinary Program in the second year running. Following a successful inauguration last year with seven elite Chinese culinary schools, reaching more than 1000 students with authentic Italian Culinary Arts knowledge, this year’s program is furthering the collaboration with five more schools, with the landscape stretching from North to South, from Harbin to Guilin. The “Italian Culinary Program” aims to promote Italian gastronomic culture and facilitate deeper culinary exchanges between China and Italy. This program consists of three components: Italian culinary arts video lessons (“Masterclass”), Italian culinary workshops, and a teachers’ training project on Italian culinary education, the Italian Culinary Experience.
The “Italy is simply extraordinary: be IT” campaign, launched in November 2021, is an extraordinary campaign to promote “Made in Italy” in support of Italian exports and the internationalisation of the national economic system. With agri-food as one of its core pillars, the Italian Culinary Program provides future chefs with an authentic and immersive Italian cooking and agri-food experience.
The first component of the Italian Culinary Program is a series of Italian culinary arts video lessons (“Masterclass”), created in collaboration with ALMA – The school of Italian Culinary Arts, and tailored specifically to students at Chinese culinary institutes. The series comprises 6 video lessons, covering central topics in professional Italian cuisine including Pasta, Cheese & Cold Cuts, Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar, Bread, Pizza, and Gelato.
Each video lesson provides an in-depth presentation on Italian culinary arts, from culture and history to practical recipe instructions. These video lessons are designed to complement the existing curriculum at Chinese culinary institutes for students majoring in Western cuisines, offering a diverse understanding of authentic Italian cooking. Upon completion of the Masterclass series, participating students will take a final exam. Students who pass this final exam will receive a certificate awarded by ITA, which attests to a certain level of knowledge in Italian cooking attained through this Masterclass video series.
The second component of this program is the Italian culinary workshop, which is intended to provide practical demonstrations and guidance, building on the theoretical foundations in Italian cuisine attained through the Masterclass series. Throughout the autumn in 2022, ITA will conduct offline workshops at five partner schools: Tourism College of Zhejiang, Huangshan University, Guilin Tourism University, Heilongjiang Vocational College of Tourism, and Beijing Jingsong Vocational High School. The goal of these workshops is to offer participating students a holistic view of Italian cuisine and to create a platform for meaningful interactions.
The last stop of the culinary schools’ tour will coincide with the Week of Italian Cuisine, held globally in November, as a highlight of this annual event of promoting Italian Cuisine.
To that end, ITA will invite experts in Italian cuisine to conduct a series of on-site seminars and demonstrations, which will provide students with an experiential understanding of the history and regional diversity of Italian gastronomy. In addition, the workshop will include tastings of these products as well as interactive and multi-sensory experiences, so that students can attain an in-depth understanding of the characteristics of these ingredients.
Another highlight of the Italian culinary workshop is the hands-on practicums. ITA will invite Italian Chef to demonstrate authentic Italian cooking. This section of the workshop will consist of two parts. First, Chef will select a complete menu of signature Italian recipes from the Masterclass series and give students an in-person demonstration of the theoretical knowledge and process involved in these recipes. The second part is a hands-on practicum of these recipes, where students will make these dishes with the guidance of Chef and his assistants. Students who participate in the Italian culinary workshop will receive a certificate from ITA.
The third and final component of the Italian Culinary Program is a teachers’ workshop on Italian culinary education, “Italian Culinary Experience”. This teachers’ workshop is offered to instructors at partner culinary institutes, with the purpose of providing a framework of culinary education in line with leading education systems in the world. The five participating culinary institutes will each select instructors to attend this workshop, which will be sponsored by ITA in October 2022, in a Shanghai well-known Italian showroom.
The curriculum is designed in collaboration with ALMA – The school of Italian Culinary Arts. Stefano Bacchelli – Executive Chef of Da Vittorio Shanghai, a leading Italian fine-dining restaurant awarded with two Michelin stars in Shanghai, will held a workshop, discuss industry trends with participating teachers, and offer cooking demonstrations.
Luca Ferrari, Ambassador of Italy to the P.R.C., remarks, “The promotion of Italian cuisine and agri-food products is a key priority for Italy. Even more so in China, a country where a millenary gastronomic culture is also deeply rooted. At the very core of our culinary traditions lie the link between food and sustainable development, plus the concepts of food safety, territorial identities, and biodiversities, as well as the protection of Geographical Indications. It is worth mentioning that Italy is the first European country per number of products protected as Geographical Indications and — with 26 products — the most represented country in the related Agreement signed between the European Union and China in September 2020.”
Gianpaolo Bruno, Trade Commissioner of ITA Beijing Office and Coordinator of ITA Offices in China and Mongolia, says, “Chinese and Italian gastronomic cultures are among the most important in the world. Mutual knowledge of both cultures is essential, especially today when it is possible to experience the tastes and traditions of each country. From this point of view, Italy has a lot to offer, also thanks to our extraordinary products like our quality wines, our delicious cheeses, prosciutto, pasta, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and many others, some of which were recently recognized in an agreement between China and the European Union. ITA – Italian Trade Agency is undertaking an intense promotional campaign that will improve and deepen the knowledge and understanding of Italian geographical indications (GI) among the Chinese general public and professionals in the food industry. How do we do it? Our excellent food and wine products focus on salubrity and sustainability.”
Enzo Malanca, President and CEO of ALMA, says, “What we are experiencing even at this particular time is an even more motivated ALMA–The International School of Culinary Arts, which maintains its peculiarities of excellence in teaching based fundamentally on the characteristics of Italian cuisine and food products.
ALMA’s traditional didactics of excellence also makes use of technological connotation, which allows us to dialogue not only on a didactic level with our students, but also to spread the values of ‘Made in Italy’ around the world in projects such as this one in collaboration with ITA, one of our most important institutional partners.
The aim of initiatives such as these is to provide future professionals on the international scene with a new awareness of Italian culinary culture, by explaining its production techniques and investigating its history and regional traditions, a mission that has always distinguished ALMA.”
Through this collaboration with leading culinary institutes in China, ITA hopes to encourage deep and meaningful exchanges in culinary education between China and Italy, and to build a strong theoretical and practical foundation in Italian cuisine for students at these institutes.
ITA envisions the Italian Culinary Program as a stimulus and a driving force of culinary cultural exchange, as education creates a strong foundation for future progress and helps shape a profound cultural relationship and shared passion for food between the two countries.
Schools confirmed for Italian Culinary Workshops
- Tourism College of Zhejiang
- Heilongjiang Vocational College of Tourism
- Huangshang University
- Guilin Tourism University
- Beijing Jingsong Vocation High School