On Monday May 19, the new Slow Food Chef's Alliance will be officially launched at an event in Restaurant Merkelbach, Amsterdam. Chef Geert Burema will welcome guests such as Jack Stroeken (President of Slow Food Netherlands), Piero Sardo (President of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity), Frank van Elsdingen and Rene Zanderink (both responsible for the Ark of Taste project in the Netherlands). There will of course also be some delicious food on offer, with chefs preparing different dishes using products from Dutch Presidia and producers taking part in the Alliance.
The project, first launched in Alberese, Italy in 2012, has garnered great success in the Netherlands, enabling the discovery of many little known products. The collaboration with Slow Food has also been continually growing. Amsterdam is now seen as the second hub of the European network of chefs in the Alliance; with important chefs such as Geert Burema, Fabio Antonini, Vezio Furlani, Leonardo Pacenti and the young Joris Bijdendijk participating in Slow Food events such as Salone del Gusto, Cheese and Slow Fish.
Two years into the project, it will now be relaunced with a charter of universal principles and international guidelines. The Netherlands, together with the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, will lead these changes, which aim to strengthen the project and enable greater coherence, coordinating expansion into other countries that wish to be involved. Chefs from any kind of training, background or traditions will be able to join the Alliance, provided that through their daily work they wish to protect gastronomic flavors, local cultures and food biodiversity. It is essential that their activities are in line with the project's philosophy: chefs should provide their clients with information about the produce they use and where it comes from, information about the producers they work with and the reasons behind their choices. The new guidelines will encourage chefs to not only use Slow Food Presidia products, but also local and seasonal products that are "good, clean and fair", for example from the Ark of Taste, food communities, Earth Markets or other local small-scale producers.
"The number of chefs wanting to participate in this project is growing rapidly", Frank van Elsdingen explained, "We are very proud of the work that has been carried out and of the group that is behind it. We have now created a website with the profiles of all the key players in the project, along with their restaurants, so as to give greater visibility to these masters of gastronomy. Representatives from the Slow Food Youth Network - Joris Lohman, Joris Bijendijk and Guus Thijssen - are also involved in order to help spread the message among new generations and young consumers. The main ingredient here is enthusiasm. During a recent meeting organized for chefs and producers, we were joined by a great number of additional people who were excited to have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas about the project, recognizing the opportunities it could provide to the territory."
The Alliance Between Chefs and the Slow Food Presidia project is also active in Morocco, with many other Slow Food associations becoming more involved across the world.
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