Professor Maria Lisa Clodoveo, professor of food science and technology of the Interdisciplinary Department of Medicine of the University of Bari, on the occasion of the last meeting with Oil & Health addressed the topic "Evolution: from technology to the table".
The Professor cultivates a passion for restaurants seen as "ambassadors" of quality extra virgin olive oil and illustrates the reasons why it is important to promote oil in restaurants.
Evolution: from technology to the table
The restaurant is the place of choice to develop a new experiential sphere of the science of cooking and taste: the elaiogastronomia. The latter represents the possibility of tasting a dish, or an entire menu, overturning the simple paradigm of oil combined with the dish and creating "elaiocentric" recipes that on the one hand are able to offer authentic and identity combinations of a territory (many recipes have centuries-old traditions and should be seasoned exclusively with oil from cultivars typical of the area), on the other hand they represent a gym of taste and culture capable not only of offering the protagonist of the banquet the satisfaction of the senses, but also of creating, through entertainment, a product culture and a corresponding value chain in the olive oil production chain.
The food and wine industry is entering the catering market by offering a new segment of consumption and favoring the birth of new professionals, both in the kitchen and in the dining room brigade. Living a food and wine experience requires training as well as an economic investment, by the restaurateur, in the creation of the oil list that needs the purchase of the best oils in the national and international olive panorama.
The oil list, however, must maintain all the purposes of the other cards present in the restaurant.
On the one hand, each card is in itself a sales tool, therefore a revolution in the way the product is presented is such as to make the guest accept a new expense item in the account. On the other hand the card, with its promises to diversify the visual, olfactory and gustatory perceptions, represents a promise that the restaurateur must be able to keep. In fact, it must be remembered that the oil is alive and transformed, especially if the bottle is opened and stored in unsuitable conditions. If the oil list declaims aromas of freshly cut grass, artichoke or tomato, the only way to guarantee that the promise, indeed the contract, is kept is to open the small bottle in the presence of the customer by serving the oil in room (not adding it to the kitchen) and allowing the consumer to enjoy the hedonistic dimension generated by the hundreds of volatile compounds that are released when the oil and the warm dish come into contact. The cloud of aromas that is generated is a prelude and announcement of the taste that will be perceived when tasting.
The oil cart with dozens of bottles open for some time is the premise of the failure of food and wine because it offers a range of poorly differentiated, oxidized and altered products.
To skeptics who do not believe that oil can be sold to restaurants, generating fair value along the supply chain, which can ensure the right income for producers and mills, we should answer that thirty years ago, when water was served in the pitcher, nobody would have believed they could see the price of the bottle of mineral water in the bill.
Oil is really a powerful element capable of transforming a banal dish into a dish capable of generating mouth watering. Let's go back to the time when (each of us lived it) we added the new oil to a plate of winter vegetables. There! It is precisely that sensation that is worth trying, refusing to add any oil from an anonymous oil cruiser and demanding, in the restaurant, a high quality oil from a bottle with anti-topping cap and label.