Slow Food Introduction by Jordan

My name is Jordan Diniz. I am a young chef who is constantly looking for new opportunities to expand my culinary knowledge and further my experience as a chef. My culinary outlook is oriented around creating unique, healthy and of course, delicious meals for my clients. From a young age I have always had a passion for cooking. I am passionate about learning about the subtle nuances of different foods and what can make a meal breathtaking. I am currently enrolled in a Postgraduate Culinary Arts Program at George Brown College, where I am able to broaden my culinary horizons as well as refine and learn new techniques and practices. I am determined to continue working towards my dreams of becoming an acclaimed chef and having my own distinguished restaurant.

 

Through the Italian Postgraduate program, I was able to spend 4 months in Italy where I was immersed in the culture and cuisine. The program is in partnership with ALMA, which is the world-famous Scuola Internazionale di Cucina Italiana, located near Parma. It is one of Italy’s finest culinary schools. I am truly thankful that I was able to partake in this program. It taught me much more than I already know about Italian cuisine and gave me hands on experience with some of the best chef professors in the country. Being able to use the vineyards and local markets of Italy as a blank canvas for my art was an unbelievable experience. My experience will be an essential component as I continue on my path to becoming the best chef I can be.

 

For my externship I had two placements. First, I was located in Abruzzo, San Salvo working at a one star Michelin called Al Metro (https://www.ristorantealmetro.it/). Due to a lack of customers and living conditions, I requested to move to another placement. From there, I took the train all the way to Turin in Piemonte to work at another one star Michelin restaurant called Dolce Stil (https://www.alfredorusso.com/online/). The restaurant was the only restaurant located in the Reggia di Venaria. The Venaria is a former royal residence and the gardens are home to one of the most important families in Italy. Italy was a life changing opportunity and allowed me to grow as a chef by developing a strong appreciation for the authentic Italian cuisine and culture. I have gained valuable experience learning new techniques and skills that I will continue to master and utilize throughout the rest of my cooking journey.

 

Not only did I acquire cooking skills in Italy, but I also learned life skills, which included living on your own in a new country and learning how to communicate and work with people who speak a different language. I found out how to embrace and enjoy a simple life while working in Italy. I wish I could have stayed in Italy longer as it was definitely a highlight of my life. I hope to have the opportunity to travel to Italy again to explore more of the Italian cuisine and culture.

 

The three tenets of Slow Food’s philosophy are about how we categorize our food as good, clean and fair. While in Italy I got to witness all three categories every day in the restaurant. For example, at my stage all of the produce we received was handpicked by my chef from a local producer. This represents fair trade since it is a fair price and good conduction produce for what you are receiving. I got to experience this by being able to visit local producers with my chef to see the trade. Another example was by being in a small town. We would serve very local dishes, such as thinly sliced rare veal with a tuna cream inside. This demonstrates good since it is a fresh and seasonal dish that is a part of the local culture. A representation of clean is linked back to my first example. One of the farms we visited was different from the rest of the ones I went to. This is because everything was made on the farm. The crops were grown for animals to consume. The farm only used local produce that was grown on site. This shows that you do not need to source anything from outside to maintain a farm.

 

Italy has changed my perspective and I have learned how to embrace the simple life. I also learned about the importance of giving meaning and respect for food. I cannot wait to visit Italy again and experience more from an Italian lifestyle and to live like a local.

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