The New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine 1.0

By Culinary Artist and Chef Gianfranco Chiarini

By Robyn Lewis
Subscribe to VisitVineyards.com
The food of culinary artist and chef Gianfranco Chiarini

The food of culinary artist and chef Gianfranco Chiarini

The food of culinary artist and chef Gianfranco Chiarini
The food of culinary artist and chef Gianfranco Chiarini
Culinary artist and chef Gianfranco Chiarini
Culinary artist and chef Gianfranco Chiarini

 

The New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine 1.0 is a work of culinary genius and artistry, which will expand your skills and stretch your thinking about food and where modern cuisine is heading, in both restaurants and at home.

The book is written and published by culinary artist and master Chef Gianfranco Chiarini – an Italian by origin who has spent many years immersed in cultures as diverse as those of Venezuela, the Middle East, Africa and Europe – who is not only extraordinarily talented but extremely generous in sharing his knowledge and techniques.

To quote Wikipedia: ‘Chiarini is recognizably one of the most public Italian chefs worldwide. His image and culinary style is widely known on several continents, especially in Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Well known as the first Western European celebrity chef and Italian nouvelle cuisine ambassador for these countries; his trademark and reputation as the reformer of the new Italian cuisine is constantly evolving.

A series of multi-disciplinary activities in the culinary world makes him very different as a chef and singles him out from his peers. His multifaceted career has allowed for a diverse range …. from Michelin restaurants, to cruise liners, deluxe hotels, resorts, restaurateur, consultancy chef, TV chef, chef to royalty, research and development chef …. across Europe, Middle East and Africa’.

Chiarini speaks seven languages: English, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Arabic. These have made him an intercultural chef, permitting him to cross over to many countries and culinary styles internationally. To his impressive CV, now add teacher and author.

Although I have never eaten his cuisine, his rich and diverse background shows in his writing. Produced in a world-wide limited edition of just 2000 copies, of which a half were sold just over a month from release, The New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine 1.0 is perhaps the most amazing cookbook I have seen, and certainly the most revolutionary since the publication of Salvador Dali’s Les Diners de Gala in 1973.

Like Dali, Chiarini pushes the boundaries, and then some. However, the latter’s aim is not to shock, but to surprise and delight, both with the exquisite tastes and unusual combinations of flavours that he presents, and in the appearance of his creations. This is food art at the 2011 pinnacle.

I have long lamented that the works of artists using media such as paint, stone or metal may endure long after the artist has passed on, perhaps for millennia, whereas the culinary artist’s output is consumed in minutes – and then gone, if not forgotten – by the fortunate diner. No longer: modern photographic techniques, and now for diners and food critics alike the iPhone and digital camera, ensure that culinary art can also be preserved and shared for others to enjoy and appreciate, if only vicariously.

What works of art each of the fifty dishes presented in The New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine 1.0 are.

The recipes are divided almost equally into five sections:
•    Linea D’Antipasti Freddi e Caldi (warm and cold appetizers);
•    Linea Di Farinacei e Paste (dishes made from flour and pasta);
•    Linea Di Pesce e di Mare (from fish and the sea);
•    Dalla Terra e dal Cielo (from the land and the sky) and
•    I Peccati dallo Zucchero (the sins of sugar).

Each recipe is illustrated with a close-up shot of the finished dish, and from four to twelve thumbnail shots of the preparation techniques. Nothing is concealed, another thing I really like about both Chiarini and his book – generous in the extreme. 

And accurate. The ingredients are specified right down to the gram, and the recipes give every detail of technique of cooking and presentation.

I have now read them all several times and I have yet to find one ingredient or step that is not fully explained, if not in the recipe itself then in the very extensive glossary or the appendices of techniques, which range from sauces to vibrant-coloured food oils. You will also learn how to dehydrate vegetables and to make ‘edible sand’.

The recipes all give a very useful 'degree of difficulty' score out of 5 (yes, there are recipes at level 1 and 2), approximate time for preparation and cooking, and (the first time I have seen this) the approximate time for serving, so essential when contemplating presentation of this nature.

If you thought that elements of molecular gastronomy are not achievable at home, think again. At least half the recipes are quite doable in a home kitchen, if not in full, then in part, and you will know in advance how much time to allow. You can manage many without professional chef’s equipment, although you will need to allow more time.

What I also like about Chiarini’s book is the element of surprise. It’s not often I see recipes with such unique combinations of flavours, let alone those that marry well. Welcome to true multicultural food; this goes way beyond 'fusion' simply implying chilli or Thai flavours in everything.

The New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine 1.0 is full of new ideas and inspiration for both chefs and home cooks who want to take their culinary repertoire and food presentation skills to an entirely new level. You may not have the time, dedication, skill or artistic flair to reproduce an entire Chiarini dish, but you can certainly create a part, and serve it alone or with one of your own related recipes.

One friend, a fanatic follower of Heston Blumenthal and all things molecular, described Charini’s book as ‘The best food porn I’ve ever seen! I love the look of but can’t make the recipes in The Fat Duck Cookbook – I don’t have a commercial kitchen, or ten staff. But I could make some of these at home. Where can I get this book?’

You should be asking the same question, especially if you are a chef.

And so, to the multicultural dishes themselves. The antipasti dishes include Italian/Asian (for example, Lobster-lime Carpaccio, Red Beets/Ginger emulsion garnished with Basil-Sake sorbet quenelle) and Italian/Middle Eastern (e.g. Turkey bacon-Halloumi-Ratatouille soufflé over sheep’s milk and Vanilla foamy sauce). There are Italian/Caribbean and South American fusions from Venezuela and Puerto Rico, Italian/African (from Cameroon and Ethiopia) and other seemingly unlikely combinations that when presented here, look so …. right.

As reflects Chiarini’s Italian culinary tradition, pasta follows, but this is not pasta as you or I may know it. There’s an Italian/Japanese fusion: Basil and Carrots Tagliolini, Lemon/Taleggio cheese sauce and Smoked Scallop Tempura (with a very good guide to smoking in the appendix); Italian/Syrian; Lebanese; Columbian; Brazilian; ‘inter-European’; even Italian/Sri Lankan: Godhamba Roti Orecchiette with Gorgonzola/Basil and Crispy Lavender.

The mains are simply stunning. Seafood dishes range from Baby Rock Lobster tail medallions Tempura, Artichokes-Basil Compote and Sujeonggwa consommé (inspired by the cuisine of South Korea) to Baked Sea Bream in crosta de Couscous, Chermoula al Pomodoro and Strawberries with Fennel Muffin, which sounds bizarre but looks delicious, and could easily be deconstructed for those wishing to sample one or two elements.

Dishes ‘from land and sky’ are equally inspiring: Arabica Coffee Salt-crust Roasted Chicken breast, Leche de Coco/Parmesan Risotto and Capsicum-Peanut-Pomodoro Salsa; Roasted Lamb with Boletus Duxelles, Saffron Couscous and Elderberry-Raspberry-Curry sauce (one I’m going to attempt very soon); and so much more, from Iran, Malaysia (a modern take on rendang), Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

By now you may be thinking that Gianfranco Chiarini and Heston Blumenthal have a lot in common, and in some ways you are right. But in others, in particularly the exquisite presentation, Chiarini excels – he is not trying to recreate a seashore experience, an encounter with Dracula or a revisit to the 1960s, but to present modern fusion food as art. I can see why he has royalty amongst his many loyal followers.

There are of course desserts ‘to die for’, many being traditional dishes with a very new twist. Sins of sugar, indeed. The recipes are interspersed with delightful essays by friend and culinary archaeology expert Eileen Reich, a Venezuelan who weaves Chiarini’s dishes into the long culinary tradition of Italy, dating back to the Roman Empire and through the first Renaissance.

One leaves with an understanding of the way Italian food has evolved over the centuries, and will continue to do so. Chiarini himself provides personal insights into his past and philosophy, and I feel as though I have come to know this genius creator through his writings and recipes.  One day, I will surely try a dish created by the master himself, but in the meantime, I will endeavour to recreate some at home, and admire his exquisite artistry.

The New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine 1.0
should be in every thinking chef's library. Expect standing ovations from Italy, too – this book will revolutionise perceptions of their national cuisine, and heralds a new era and direction in Italian cooking.

The culinary bar has been raised to new heights. Bravo, Chef.

 
The New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine 1.0 by Gianfranco Chiarini
is published by ChiariniCulinaryConsultancy.com (November 2010, USA; hc 156 pp). It has been released in a deluxe limited edition of 2000 and retails from Blurb.com for €200 (postage extra; 20 to Australia) »

It is also available on facebook, with payment by PayPal, with full instructions here »

If you order via facebook your copy will be personally signed by the author.

There are only 800 copies remaining for sale (Feb 2011). It is the first part of a trilogy being produced from 2010-2012. This is the Emerald (green cover) volume 1.


Congratulations to Chef Gianfranco Chiarini for The New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine 1.0, which along with René Redzepi's NOMA takes equal first place in VisitVineyards.com's Top 12 Cookbooks of 2010/11 »

 
Subscribers of VisitVineyards.com have the unique opportunity to win the only copy of The New Renaissance of Italian Fusion Cuisine 1.0 avaiable free, worldwide.
(Open to 30 April 2011). Please visit this page for further information »

  

 

 


Regions

  • Italy - all (IT)

Our Recommendations

To see our recommendations, ratings and reviews you must be a logged-in subscriber.

To subscribe please enter your email address in the "Subscribe Now - it's Free" box on the right and click the "Join" button, or fill in this form >

February 14th, 2011
 
Subscribe today - it's free
Subscribe Button

Subscribe now - for news and reviews, our newsletter (optional), to join our forums, and more.

Enter your email address and click the Subscribe button. We respect your privacy.

Log in

Enter your username...

Enter your password...

Log In Button

Forgotten your password?

Subscribe

Kerry's corner - your free benefits

Advertisement

Competitions
Premium listing