Pino Cuttaia: my father’s fork on display in Turin

Pino Cuttaia: my father’s fork on display in Turin

%% excerpt %% Until February 3 in Turin, at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, there is the No Tools exhibition: chef Pino Cuttaia tells us about the importance of a common tool.

In the beginning it was the fork . But it is not just any fork that inspired the photographer Davide Dutto for the first chapter of his three-chapter project (Fork1 – Spoon2 – Knife3) No Tools ,a fork that recalls the troubled times after the Second World Warrather it is that of the father of Pino Cuttaia , 2 Michelin star Sicilian chef with his La Madia di Licata (AG). “ The fork – explains Cuttaia – was a unique tool in the years before and after the Second World War when cooking was not as democratic as it is today. In fact, there was no single portion, much less the dish. A large plate was placed in the center of the table which became an arena where everyone tried to eat more than the other. But plunging the fork into the dish several times could be a selfish and rude gesture. So they used to widen the tines of the fork to take more pasta without the rest of the family noticing. The fork thus modified was a personal object to take care of and be jealous of “ .

And speaking of forks, during the inauguration of the exhibition held in Turin until February 3 at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, we come to the memories that permeate the chef’s cuisine. ” The cook – continues Cuttaia –he is the person who causes reflections to be made because, with his gestures, he is the guardian of traditions. Especially today, when people no longer have time to cook, the cook interprets a domestic gesture. This is the value that those who do our job must defend: a historical and cultural heritage that interprets a territory through seasonality and small producers. Because without the right ingredient our work makes no sense to exist. Through the raw materials it is possible to interpret centuries of history and alchemy that arose with bartering. The fisherman with the farmer and the shepherd passed the ingredients and formed new bonds through baptisms or weddings precisely in order to draw on the ingredients. Cheese, fish,.

Yes, because for Cuttaia it is the ingredient harvested at the right time in its homeland that makes the difference and expresses true luxury in the kitchen. ” Luxury for a cook – remarks the chef –it is to defend one’s roots but also to be able to pick a lemon directly from the tree. I work a lot on the memory that comes from a taste and that through seasonality comes to a product that changes over time. The mission of a cook is to go in search of the small producer and support him and then interpret the maximum expression of that taste in the kitchen. A taste that unfortunately has become impoverished over time because shopping in a hypermarket, where all the ingredients are always available, makes you lose the sense of seasonality and cancels the very expression of an ingredient “ .

To underline how luxury is the ingredient, crockery also disappears from the table in favor of a sheet of paper , also of ancient memory. “ Once – Cuttaia recalls – in families the cartata, the packet of cold cuts, rotisserie or pastry shops, was opened in the center of the table and everyone drew from it. Food thus became sharing and fun. At the restaurant we serve “The picture of anchovies” on food paper precisely to preserve that memory “ . Another dish of memory is Visual memory that the chef dedicated to his mother . It is a reinterpretation of the slice that transmits the love of the mother when she prepares a steak for the children. “We interpreted it with tuna because it is similar to veal and we left the lemon seed in the center to remember the domestic imperfection and at the same time express all the attention that mothers used to make a dish prepared for the family tastier “.

So every traditional dish becomes, if done in the ancient way, a treasure chest of tradition and crafts. “ The Emilian lasagna – explains Cuttaia – over time has become a popular dish, done in an approximate and impoverished way. Let’s just think about how many crafts and knowledge are behind a plate of lasagna made as it should be “. There is the cheesemaker, the miller, the butcher, the farmer, the sfoglina, therefore, when it is properly prepared the lasagna is worth more than a lobster, a lobster or caviar .

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