The chat will take place between Wednesday and Sunday of this week (19/1 to 23/1), but please feel free to start posting your questions anytime.
(We will start with a day of delay respect what shown in the eGullet calendar because of chef Corelli’s appearance on an Italian TV show on Tuesday.)
For those unfamiliar with Igles Corelli work here’s some introductory information:
Igles Corelli, chef of Locanda della Tamerice in Ostellato, might not be a household name abroad yet he is one of the professionals whose work has been functional in defining what the Italian “cucina del territorio”, creative cuisine based on local traditional ingredients, is today. The best way to explain his cooking philosophy is probably through his own words:
A chef has two apparently opposed duties: to protect the memory of tastes and their cultural tradition, but also to contribute to the evolution of eating habits.
His influence on the modern Italian gastronomic scene is not limited to his cooking. Corelli organizes one of Italy’s most interesting food events, Sapere e Sapori, and is wholeheartedly involved in the education of the next generations of Italian cooks. He is also a founding member of the Jeune Restaurateurs d’Europe and Eurotoques associations.
Born in 1955, Igles Corelli starts his cooking career in 1976.
After experiences between Modena and the Adriatic coast of Romagna, followed by a year on cruise ships, he becomes the chef of the restaurant Il Trigabolo of Argenta in 1981. A former pizzeria-restaurant, this will become with the years one of Italy’s finest establishments; its influence on Italian restaurant cuisine, though not often receiving the recognition it would deserve, is still relevant today. Il Trigabolo was one of the first, if not the first restaurant in Italy, to break away from both the old fashioned hotel classics and the at the time flourishing Nouvelle cuisine to propose what is today widely known as “cucina del territorio”: for the first time the best traditional and local ingredients were being used to create new dishes, leaving free rein to the creativity of the kitchen staff. The success of Il Trigabolo was the result of a sum of factors: a capable and creative brigade under Corelli’s guide, an owner, Giacinto Rossetti, always on the look-out for the best products and the use of avant-garde technology, like the now famous pacojet, years before these would enter many of Europe top kitchens. Some of the dishes invented here, like the Lasagnette croccanti (crunchy lasagne), have been since then copied and reinterpreted by many Italian chefs becoming downright classics.
The recognition of the critics arrives soon: in 983 the restaurant is awarded its first Michelin star followed by a second in 1987. In the following years Il Trigabolo will receive numerous praises and awards from the Italian critics: Gambero Rosso’s Tre Forchette, Espresso’s 19,5/20 and Veronelli’s Sole award. Corelli continues to lead the kitchen of Il Trigabolo till 1993, when the restaurant closes down after economic difficulties.
During the years at in Argenta Corelli starts the Sapere e Sapori (Knowledge and Taste) cultural association, which organizes the homonymous annual event dedicated to promoting quality foods and wines, and to creating an opportunity for chefs to meet colleagues in a spirit of exchange and cooperation and for gourmets to try the cuisine of top chefs from Italy and the world (see below for more details).
Corelli’s cooking has also been the culinary backdrop of a number of political and cultural events. Notable among others is his participation to the Gala dinner for the international launch of the Slow Food Manifesto in the December of 1989 in Paris, alongside acclaimed French chefs like Michel Trama of Aubergade in Puymirol and Jean Marie Meulier of Clos Longchamp.
In 1992 Corelli meets Pia Passalacqua, who will become both his life and business partner: they open Locanda della Tamerice in Ostellato in 1995. The Locanda is located in an area of particular beauty, at the limits of the Po delta national park, and rich in unique products, which often appear on the menu.
Corelli involvement in teaching has grown in the last decade and he has recently become the coordinator of the Professional Cooking Courses organized by Gambero Rosso. From 2001 he has also taken part and starred in various progras produced by the Italian national Television RAI and by Gambero Rosso Channel among others.
Two collections of his recipes have been published last year, both in Italian. Gribaudo collected Corelli’s favorite game recipe in the book “Selvaggina” while Gambero Rosso brought out “In cucina con Igls Corelli” a collection of Corelli’s best recipes.
For anyone interested to get to know Corelli’s cuisine better “In cucina con…” is a good starting point. From the classics of Il Trigabolo to the latest creations, this recipe collection is a fascinating journey through his inventive reinterpretation of tradition and his curiosity for new ingredients and dishes. The book benefits from Corelli’s teaching experiences: the recipes, thought for home cooks, are well explained and the initial basics section covers all the prep work needed to successfully replicate the recipe. The only limit for the home cook wanting to replicate the recipes lies in the occasional use of uncommon ingredients such as game birds. Yet a book of Corelli’s recipes without game would be terribly incomplete, lacking an important part of his repertoire. The comments to many of the recipes throughout the book, explaining inspirations and ideas behind the dishes manage to permeate the book with Corelli’s warm personality and cooking philosophy.
Sapere e Sapori
From 1989 onward, the Sapere e Sapori festival has brought together chefs, top products, gourmets and art. The event’s highlight is the gala dinners: the guest chefs, from 3 to 5 every evening, each prepare one or more courses, inspired to the theme that is annually assigned to the event.
The festival has hosted many of the best Italian chefs, (Pierangelini, Vissani, Iaccarino. Marchesi and Cedroni, just to name a few) and given the opportunity to Italian gourmets to discover the cuisines of top chefs working abroad, as Winkler, Vergé and Senderens. Occasionally the event has showcased the cuisine of particular countries. Some of the highlights include US cuisine (1993) with the likes of Susan Spicer, Mark Miller and Lydia Shire as guest chefs, and Spain (1994), with a group of young emerging chefs; among them the still relatively unknown Ferran Adrià.
The next edition of Sapere e Sapori is planned for this year in Rome.