Today, we meet Cristina Bowerman, Executive Chef of Glass Hostaria in Rome, that will answer questions from our editorial staff and some of our food bloggers to tell us her passion for the cooking.
1) What is the episode that gave life to your food passion?
There is no episode in particular… I can remember my grandmother and me shelling peas to make her fabulous pasta with peas. My father and me making custard (sucking the skin of the lemon after cooking the custard is without parallel!) or the almond brittle that my father used to make for us little ones. So, in conclusion, cooking is my memory!
2) If you should take a foreign friend coming to Italy for the first time to dine out, what typical dish would you recommend him?
Each region has its own excellence: I can’t choose any of them!
3) In your opinion, what Made in Italy product is not sufficiently known abroad yet?
For me there is no product in particular, because I wouldn’t even like all the Italian products to be available abroad. I think that a strong mark of the classy, modern Italian savoir fare is missing. In other words, there are pizza, mandolini and commonplaces in plenty, what is missing is the modern, outstanding Italian cuisine.
4) With regard to the Italian Sounding phenomenon, what would they be, in your opinion, the solutions to fight it?
By adequately protecting our products, by making EXECUTIVE our already existing rules. If we manage to defend our products during all the productive and distributive phases, if we manage to promote our chefs, ambassadors of our taste and style, abroad, if we manage to welcome apprentices from all over the world, these will become ambassadors of our real Italian cuisine and not that spread through non Italian sources (see TV, foreign journalists etc.).
5) Do you think Italian cuisine influenced the last food tendencies, the diets centered on the protein consumption and the low calorific content (like paleo diet) or alternative diets like the vegan one?
(My Little Italian Kitchen)
Honestly I don’t think the Mediterranean diet influenced diets like those you mentioned. The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle that includes, it does not excludes. So, thinking that the Mediterranean diet pushes the protein consumption rather than that of carbohydrates, it seems excessive to me.
6) With regard to nowadays food habits and food culture, where I personally consider that quality and periodicity have moved to the background, do you think that good food and traditions are at risk? (Sergio In Cucina)
These days food habits are terrible in the majority of cases especially because we have a lot and it is too much available. To make a banal example, the fact of having already filleted fish, already squeezed oranges, already boned meat, it only helps the quantity of food we ingest to increase and the fullness perception to slow down. On the other hand, paradoxically, I think that food culture is instead very diffused and developed with respect to 50 years ago. Now we are aware of what does well or harms. The problem is that we don’t act consequently!
7) Have your customers ever asked for something different from Italian cuisine? (My Little Italian Kitchen)
Not different from Italian cuisine but different from Roman Italian cuisine (I work in Rome). One of the most common comments I usually receive is: “finally something different!”. In Rome the traditional cuisine is a hit but, unfortunately, it is not always at the level at which it should be. Carbonara, cacio e pepe, gricia and abbacchio are, along with other few dishes, what you can find in every Roman trattoria.
8) Do you think Italians will be more and more attached to their tradition and food? (My Little Italian Kitchen)
No, I don’t think so. I think that there will be a larger and larger crowd of traditions defenders (thank God!) but that the usage of non Italian ingredients and techniques are going to increasingly get a foothold not only in restaurant’s kitchens but in house’s too.
9) What is your favorite ingredient, without which you can’t work or that could be a sort of signature for your dishes? (SK Food Club)
There is no one in particular. I could say that I would do the opposite: I can perfectly work without cinnamon and cloves. For the rest I adore vegetables, rice, crustaceans. A distinctive tract, maybe belonging to my cuisine, concerns the texture. I’m Pugliese and I do like chewing, so in my dishes there are more and more textures that go from soft to crisp.
10) Do you think Italian cuisine can be employed in the US as gastro diplomacy – the way in which food is used to connect people and cultures of all the world, winning hearts through stomach? (SK Food Club)
I’m absolutely convinced about that. Cooking is the cultural expression of the historical moment of a country, of a people. What, more that Italian cuisine, can express Italian culture, spreading it worldwide? I don’t only think so, but I also think that it always happened: agreements have always been reached at a table. I distance myself from this question for a moment, to report a beautiful project by Daniela Papadia, who made the women prisoners of Rebibbia embroider the human genome on a tablecloth, and it is used for those who have a conversation to resew. Well, I cook and people eat on this tapestry that tells at every second that my genome is identical to yours, that there are no differences.