ISSUE 1 - YEAR 7 | PALAZZI/FUA | MARCH 2017
STELLAR LINEUP AT APICIUS MARCH CONFERENCE The upcoming edition of the yearly Apicius conference on hospitality education is proud to present a unique lineup of panel speakers on Saturday, March 18th. Following the opening remarks from the Florentine Chamber of Commerce and Confindustria Toscana, keynote speaker Ona Ashley from Johnson County Community College (KS, USA) will discuss the importance of hospitality programs for local communities. The conference theme’s focus on the key concept of innovation and Apicius’ 20th anniversary will bring dynamic speakers
by Blending Staff
from various professions to the 1-day conference. 2017 features in particular nutrition and the contrast and relationship between innovation and tradition – sports nutritionist Cristian Petri from the AC Fiorentina professional soccer team and Domenico Pellegrini, nutrition researcher at the University of Florence, will provide diverse perspectives of the field, while pastry chefs Paolo Sacchetti (Pasticceria Nuovo Mondo, Prato) and Domenico Di Clemente (Four Seasons, Florence) will discuss the evolving world of pastry produc-
tion. Panels will also feature Sonia Peronaci, founder of Italy’s popular food site Giallozafferano.it, Executive Chef Simone Cipriani of Florence’s Essenziale restaurant, sommelier Luca Gardini, high quality food producers at a tasting session, and viticulture students who will conduct a blind wine tasting to conclude the conference.
To reserve a spot, see the contact information below. Teaching Traditions: 20 Years of Apicius Innovation March 18th, 2017 Corso dei Tintori 21 RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
INTERVIEW WITH LUIGI TAMANINI
by Morgan Pennings Photos courtesy of Samara Rynecki
Gallery curation student Morgan Pennings interviewed Luigi Tamanini, the local artist featured at the first AperiArt show at Ganzo, during a visit to his Florence studio with the students from the Gallery and Exhibition Curating – Experiential Learning course.
When we entered Luigi Tamanini’s studio, the first thing I noticed was the sheer volume of artwork he had. Many hung proudly on the walls, while still more were resting on shelves, leaning against cabinets, and tucked away in hard-to-reach corners. The movement in Tamanini’s paintings and his contemporary style are unlike any other. In one corner of his workspace, some of his more realistic paintings hung together, different from the rest, and as it turns out, they were some of his earliest pieces and reflect how he was classically trained as a painter. 2
His current art brings to life topics like dreams, sexuality, and our relationships with the people around us. He uses people to tell stories, like in “The Disagreement” – one of the paintings that will be shown in the upcoming exhibition at Ganzo – which depicts the way a couple interacts when they fight and when they are happy. One peculiarity that stood out to me as I walked around Tamanini’s studio was the little trinkets and toys he had on his desk and book shelves, and among his stacked paintings. When I asked why he kept them in his studio, he said simply that when
you spend a lot of time working in one place, you need things that you love with you. This speaks a lot for his modern approach to painting – he mindfully does anything he can to stay young at heart. Something that struck me during our interview was what he said when talking about the message his paintings might convey to others. Many of them may seem very dark and sinister, but often, he does not plan for them to come out as such. When he paints, this seemingly just happens. He recounted how Francis Bacon’s paintings are known for revealing the darkest side of the artist’s mind, but nevertheless Tamanini still admires Bacon’s work. When asked, Tamanini replied
that he does not have a favorite style of painting, he “loves what is beautiful.” I am very intrigued by what is considered the standard of beauty, and this quote resonated with me deeply as it seems to me that he was saying that anything can be beautiful, even, and perhaps especially, someone’s struggle in the pit of depression. Tamanini’s youthfulness is apparent in his work and I am excited to see this seventy-year-old’s art exhibited in a space frequented by university students of all ages and backgrounds. I look forward to hearing what my peers have to say about his paintings! Tamanini's work can be viewed in the month of March at Ganzo – Via de' Macci 85red Opening date: March 1st, 2017
From this issue onwards, Advanced Italian Language students will be contributing to the Blending Newsletter and Magazine with submissions in the Italian language. This issue features travel tips for two of Italy’s regions - Veneto and Campania.
CAMPANIA AL SOLE Nel Sud Italia, la Campania è una regione piena di storia e attrazioni turistiche. Da grandi città come il suo capoluogo, Napoli, alle spiagge e il mare blu di Capri e della Costiera Amalfitana, si vede la presenza di un ambiente particolarmente allegro e dinamico. Per gli amanti della storia, la regione è caratterizzata dai resti che raccontano la presenza della Magna Grecia e degli antichi Romani in questo territorio. In posti come Paestum e Pompei, è possibile apprezzare le rovine di queste civiltà. Vicino al mare, Paestum offre una passeggiata tra templi e costruzioni di una tipica città della Grecia Classica, e anche una spiaggia bellissima con la sabbia bianca e il grande mare. Vicino al vulcano Vesuvio, c’è la famosa città romana di Pompei distrutta dopo l’eruzione del vulcano. Le rovine raccontano come viveva questa società e stimola la nostra immaginazione. Ugualmente piena di storia è Napoli, o Nàpule nel dialetto napoletano, una delle città più importanti d’Italia, con un grande porto marittimo e una cucina collegata direttamente alla cultura locale. Piatti come la pizza margherita, la mozzarella di bufala, le diverse fritture, gli gnocchi alla sorrentina, piatti di mare, e infine i dolci come le zeppole, gli struffoli e le sfogliatelle, sono presenti nel quotidiano della vita napo-
by Isabella de Rizzo Rosa
letana, e nelle feste principali, come Natale o la Madonna del Carmine. Queste prelibatezze possono essere gustate in diversi ristoranti, principalmente sul lungomare oppure a Posillipo, da dove si ammira uno splendido panorama di tutta la città, con il Vesuvio a fare da sfondo. A Napoli, si parla abitualmente in dialetto napoletano, che è molto diverso dalla lingua italiana. Alcuni esempi più famosi sono: ‘o guaglione (il ragazzo), ‘o scemo (il pazzo), ‘a Maronna (la Madonna), ‘a criatura (la bambina). Un’altra città, vicina a Napoli, si chiama Caserta, ed è una località con un grande castello, la Reggia di Caserta. Alcuni dicono che sia la Versailles d’Italia. Infine, Capri e la Costiera Amalfitana, dove il mare e le case appollaiate sulla montagna sono le attrazioni principali. A Capri, la Grotta Azzurra e la città invitano a visitare questi luoghi pittoreschi. La Costiera Amalfitana è piena di paesini con grandi ville e giardini che la rendono molto colorata. Andare in Campania è sempre un’avventura per scoprire nuove tradizioni, bella architettura e storie interessanti. Quindi, la regione è imperdibile durante un viaggio in Italia, soprattutto per divertirsi e mangiare bene in un luogo di intensa cultura.
SCOPRIRE IL VENETO
Il Veneto è una bella regione dell’Italia settentrionale. Tra le sue bellezze conta le Dolomiti, il Lago di Garda, e molto fascino. È più famosa per il capoluogo, Venezia, ma le altre province sono Verona, Vicenza, Padova, Treviso, Rovigo e Belluno. Ho visitato Verona due settimane fa e ho visto le case di Romeo e di Giulietta e l’Arena. L’Arena è come un piccolo Colosseo ma è ancora un monumento incredibile. Intorno all’Arena, ci sono molti ristoranti che hanno una bella vista. A Verona, ci sono anche molti posti per fare shopping. Ci sono i mercati sulle strade principali e molti negozi con i vestiti firmati. Verona è una città con molta bellezza e molte cose da fare. Venezia è una città conosciuta in tutto il mondo per i suoi canali e le strade strette. La gente può fare un giro per i canali con le gondole. C’è la bella Piazza San Marco piena di arte e di meraviglie artistiche e il Canal Grande con il Ponte di Rialto. Fuori dalla città ci sono le isole. Murano è un’isola 4
by Christina Slayton Photos by the author
famosa per il vetro soffiato unico al mondo, mentre Burano è nota per il merletto delicato. Una grande festa a Venezia è il Carnevale. Durante il Carnevale si celebrano l’arte, la musica e le tradizioni della regione. La gente indossa maschere elaborate e costumi colorati e eccentrici. Quest’anno, il Carnevale di Venezia si è tenuto dall’11 al 28 febbraio. Per chi ama il cibo, i piatti tipici del Veneto sono la polenta, la soapa calda (la minestra con carne di piccione e pollo), il risotto con capesante, scampi e seppioline, e l’anguilla in umido. Senza dimenticare i fagioli di Lamon, gli asparagi di Bassano del Grappa, il radicchio rosso di Treviso, i funghi e il capriolo delle Alpi e il pandoro di Verona (un dolce famoso che si consuma a Natale). I vini più noti sono Amarone della Valpolicella, Soave, Bardolino, Breganze Bianco e Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene. Il Veneto è una regione romantica piena di bellezza naturale e sarà apprezzato dalla gente che ama l’arte, la cultura e la storia.
FIRENZE, A UNIQUE BLEND OF OLD AND NEW Florentine culture is a rarity in itself, with the city center transporting one back to the Italian Renaissance-era with its sculpture-lined cobblestone streets and centuries old artwork found around every corner. In a city so full of the work of master artisans and piazzas that have the ability to provide an almost effortless charm, it is easy to get lost in the old beauty of the city and the magic that it brings to any newcomer’s life. Breathtaking churches and exquisite Italian cuisine can be found throughout the city, however such traditional entities can be hard to find in a world where Westernization has become the new normality for parts of the world. Westernization, as defined by the English-Oxford Living Dictionary, is the adoption or ability to be influenced by “the cultural, economic, or political systems of Europe and North America.” Florentine culture can be seen standing strong on either side of the Arno River, but once you travel past the viali to the
north of the center, it is as if you have instantly travelled out of that Renaissance magic which completely encompasses you and into a present-day reality. Even within the city center itself, this juxtaposition between new and old can be felt. Standing in front of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is a life-changing experience, leaving the observer in awe of the massive marble façade before them. Such an experience is hard to forget, not only for the memory itself, but also thanks to the “selfie-sticks” that are constantly being sold and the “free Wi-Fi” advertisements plastered around the Piazza del Duomo which ensure that the moment will forever be captured and remembered on social media. With an abundance of beauty around you and so much to see, it is hard to stop for more than a few moments, so the occasional bar that offers “coffee-to-go” as opposed to a more relaxed sit-down café will attract customers who are in
LIVING AS A FLORENTINE WITH THE ITALIAN FAMILY CLUB The welcome event for the Spring 2017 Italian Family Club at FUA brought international students and Italian families together at Finisterrae in Piazza Santa Croce. Students had the opportunity to meet and begin bonding with their families for the semester over a light dinner while sharing initial interactions. Italian Family Club was created in order to get students more engaged with the culture during their stay in Florence. This is a unique, hands-on opportunity to get personally involved with an “adoptive” Florentine family because it has the benefits of a homestay while independently living on your own. The program builds two-way relationships between families and students, who are matched based on factors like similarities in hobbies
STUDENT VOICE by Christina Trupia
need of a quick cappuccino. A trip to the Mercato Centrale mesmerizes visitors from all over, with a variety of vendors selling their fresh meats, pastas, produce, and wine down every aisle of the indoor market. After leaving the market with bags of in-season fresh, local items in hand, you take the walk back to your apartment passing grocery stores and quick-markets selling imported fruits and boxed meals ready to be purchased at your convenience. A similar story follows for the historic Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio, a hub for vendors of local ingredients since 1873, which today competes with larger national supermarket chains nearby. As Western norms and values gradually peak their way into Florentine culture, in what ways does the city center of Florence still maintain its characteristic Renaissance-era appeal and charm, transporting visitors back in time with the unique magic it fluently bestows?
by Ariana Andretta Photo by the author
and the student’s level of Italian language proficiency. A small group of lucky students shared the excitement and nerves of walking into this transformative experience. FUA Coordinator Francesca Tassinari called everyone’s name one by one as the family members eagerly awaited to show them to the tables. The age range of children varied from toddlers to young teens, so each introduction was a surprise as to what atmosphere they would be facing. An initial fear that many participants dealt with beforehand was communicating with their respective families. Luckily for one student, Riley, her adoptive Italian mother was fluent in English. However, despite the lessened language barrier, had things been the opposite it wouldn't 5
have made a negative impact: for Riley, this opportunity is “so unique and something that sounded like it was a once in a lifetime experience so I had to get involved. This is the perfect way to really immerse myself, learn the culture, and get out of my comfort zone.” This semester there are new participating families as well as returning ones, such as the Cocchi family. This particular family is worth recounting because they have had about five or six adoptive students added to their lives since they joined the club. Cristina, her partner Damiano, and her daughter Giorgia have been matched with students from different places and shared their excitement of welcoming a New Yorker for the first time. For the interview process, Francesca explained that in addition
to being highly motivated, the pairing of interests between participants is an important factor. Giorgia, for instance, loves to dance and takes weekly lessons, so she was excited upon finding out that her “adoptive sister” was a dancer as well. It was priceless to see the glow of enthusiasm on her face and that there was a well-received response on the other side. The fact that the Italian Family Club commences with a shared meal is a great way for participates to celebrate the beginning of a journey. It reminds us that we are not so different from one another and eating together is a way to find common ground in unknown territory. With that sentiment in mind, here is something to remember: happiness can always be found in the presence of good food and company.
MARTA RUSSO ON DISMANTLING STEREOTYPES Stereotypes about Italians can be as numerous as the olives in San Lorenzo Market. But Marta Russo, a professor of non-verbal communication at Florence University of the Arts, knows that these stereotypes can be risky if one does not confront them critically. When students come to Italy from countries all over the world, the change in culture can feel disorienting and even hostile. Russo understands this and focuses on such issues with her students, recommending they “try to suspend judgement” when facing unfamiliar situations. By practicing this, students can better remove any ethnocentricity – or the belief that one’s own culture is superior – from their dialogue. “If something is different, it does not mean it is necessarily better or worse,” she said. “I tell them to avoid describing an Italian attitude they don't know or understand as ‘weird’ but rather simply as different.” Stereotypes in general tend to be exaggerated and overly simplistic, but others are still grounded in what are essentials of Italian life. “We are obsessed with food, very family-oriented, and care about the way we dress,” Russo said, and Italians can be proud of the many renowned products from the famous prosciutto di Parma to the high fashion of Prada and Gucci. Italian culture, however, is not simply what is neatly arranged in a showcase; it is also steeped in history and tradition. While teaching Body Language and Non-Verbal Communication in Italy at FUA, Russo mentions the Italian concept of “family first,” which has deep roots burrowing back to when Italy was not a unified country but a smattering of regions and nation-states. But even the Italian family is changing. “Italians families are no longer as big as they used to be,” Russo said, adding that smaller families with one or two children are more common than before. 6
by Steven Scaglione Photo courtesy of FUA
Europe as a whole has been experiencing lower birth rates over the past few decades, but Italy is notably lower. According to a 2015 UN World Fertility Patterns report, the world fertility rate between 2010 and 2015 was 2.5 births per female. In Europe, the rate is 1.6. In Italy, 1.3. What can be learned from all this? When approaching a new culture, it is best to approach the situation with context in mind. Suspend judgement, learn a bit of history, and the true Italian identity will reveal itself. It is already there: in the streets, in the markets, and throughout the cityscape.
FACES & PLACES
For this issue, students from the Travel Writing course dialogue with Florence’s “sculpted people” in personal and unusual reflections.
MENELAUS AND PATROCLUS
by Alexander Zupancic Photos by Rachael Crossley
I met with Menelaus and the body of Patroclus late at night, much later than any tourist would be visiting them. There was not a single passerby in Piazza della Signoria other than myself; it felt eerie walking amongst these giants frozen in time. Menelaus stares straight into my eyes, seemingly begging for help – for justice, for something else? He is holding the dead body of Patroclus, protecting him. There is something raw about the naked form, the defeated and fallen soldier who is also naked; from ashes to ashes, you come in to this world naked and leave it the same way. The details in the weight and slump of Patroclus’ body add to his defeat. Menelaus is the King of Sparta, adding to the masculinity and tone of war and importance exuding from this sculpture. Originally Menelaus was headless, but a head was added back to the body after several restorations hundreds of years ago. This is, in my opinion, a controversial yet stimulating choice. Menelaus’ stare is almost haunting, begging. His mouth hangs ever so slightly open as if he is about to ask for mercy. The tale of the Iliad is a historic one, the battle of Troy larger than life. Being able to stare into the face of an ancient hero, surrounded by no one else but a dozen towering statues is surreal. As a student here for a semester, it is something I do not get to see on a daily basis back home. I plan to check in with Menelaus every now and then throughout my time in Florence, maybe I’ll learn another thing or two from him. 7
by Olivia Scheiber Photo by Rachael Crossley
She was a striking woman who looked quite distressed. The cloth she wore was draped around her casually, and some parts of her body were exposed. Curiosity rose within me, and I approached her with caution. I stood in front of her, and she put her arm across her stomach as the other rose up touching her cheek. We greeted each other, and I realized, now being closer, how her face was much more relaxed. The woman bent her leg and wrapped it around the other as she began to tell me a story. She spoke in a delicate and soft manner of certain prisoners. The tale was simple, of a difficult life. Discovered in Rome, she moved around and was imprisoned in many different areas of the city. Her trials and tribulations were never easy but she overcame them and shared her story to encourage the strength of others. Years later, she was brought to Florence where she now resides. Upon learning about her past, my gaze began to change. I now saw who this woman in front of me is: a barbarian prisoner, who represents courage. Thanks to her strength and her will to carry on, this stranger is now a close friend. She goes by the name Thusnelda and inhabits the Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria. Here, she continues to share her story and the true definition of strength.
ALUMNI INTERVIEW: OMAR ARMAS
by the FUA Alumni Association Photos courtesy of Omar Armas
We caught up with Omar Armas, a 2008 Apicius graduate. Find out where he’s been since leaving Florence and how what he learned here at FUA helped him open his own restaurant, Mantou Gastropub, in his hometown of Ensenada, Mexico.
Tell us about yourself, how you ended up at FUA, and what you’ve been up to since graduation. I'm from the port of Ensenada Baja California Mexico, home of some of the best seafood and wines of the country! After highschool I had no idea what I wanted to do, so after three different majors and finally dropping out of university, I decided a first year in the working world would help me get my ideas in place. I found a job in a pizzeria as a dishwasher, not really thinking about becoming a chef but just making a living. To my greatest surprise I found myself working my way up to the hot station, and loving each step. My brother suggested I go to culinary school if that was what I was really passionate about, so based on my job experience and being an absolute pasta fan, Italy came as a natural choice. I searched for different schools and Apicius seemed to have
the expertise and atmosphere that was right for me. I spent two years from 2006 to 2008 for Culinary and Hospitality studies. During my time at Apicius, I truly fell in love with culinary arts and decided to make it my career. Everyday in Florence was just amazing! The city is an open-air museum, the Tuscan culture so rich, the food exquisite, there is history around every corner! Apicius and its professors are simply at a world-class level. The whole team was incredible. When I finished school, I felt so enriched by my experience abroad that I just wanted to keep traveling and learning. I started in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, working my way up from the hotel’s cafeteria to its signature Thai cuisine restaurant, and then soon was chosen by the executive chef to go with him to Macau, China for the grand opening of a new hotel and casino. After a year there, I wanted to move on and continue gaining experience, and so I spent time working and 9
interning in world-class restaurants like Quique Dacosta in Spain, D.O.M. in São Paulo, Brazil, and Momofuku Ssäm Bar in NYC, all of which are on San Pellegrino’s list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Finally, after 8 years of traveling, I decided it was time to begin a project of my own. So in July 2015, after two years of planning, sacrifice, and hard work, I opened my own restaurant in my hometown: Mantou Gastropub. It wasn't easy, and to be honest, the first year I thought we wouldn’t make it. But after almost two years, we are now positioned as #14 out of 310 restaurants in Ensenada on TripAdvisor and we were recently visited by BBC news team and Food&TravelMX. Things are starting to look up! I hope to make it my life project to improve and innovate cuisine in my hometown and eventually take the concept abroad. How has what you learned at FUA helped you in opening your own restaurant? Tell us a little more about Mantou GastroPub. FUA taught me to not to be afraid of making mistakes, that out of a mistake something bigger and better can emerge. In fact, at my restaurant we are currently considered the most innovative place in town, thanks to a culture of risk-taking and thinking outside the box. The name “Mantou” comes from our signature dish which in Mandarin means “steamed bun.”
Our concept is to use local market ingredients to make authentic recipes. Everything that we serve our clients is made at the restaurant: our aiolis, ice creams, pastas, vinegars (which we ferment and let acidify for 3 months), our bread made from hops, we smoke our own products… We also serve only top quality local wines and craft beers, we have our own enologist in the house, my wife, who handpicks what we pour. One of the most important things I learned at FUA, and something that is still so important in my work today, is respect and care: for our suppliers, for the ingredients, for our clients, and for our team. What advice do you have for future FUA students? Focus not only on your professional learning which is of course is fundamental, but also take the time to learn the language and completely absorb the Tuscan culture. It will enrich your personal path so much more! Mantou Gastropub Ave Adolfo López Mateos #2030-A, Colonia Granados Ensenada, Mexico 22840 Facebook: @Mantoupub Instagram: @mantougastropub If you’re interested in getting in touch with Omar, please write to email@example.com
Events in Florence by Public Relations Strategies Students
FLORENTINE NEW YEAR
by Olivia Bugno
On the Feast of March 25th, be a part of a very special day celebrated in the City of Florence better known as the Capodanno Fiorentino, or Florentine New Year! Until 1750, March 25 was observed as the beginning of the calendar year, also recognized as the day the Catholic Church had designated for the Feast of the Annunciation. This official celebration is an honored event that solemnly commemorates the announcement of the Incarnation of the Virgin Mary by the Archangel Gabriel. Today it is still celebrated throughout the city. Starting at 2:45pm, come join the religious festivities at the Santissima Annunziata as locals and visitors alike gather to watch the Historical Parade of the Florentine Republic, visit exhibits, and attend concerts throughout the city.
TASTE: FOOD FESTIVAL AT STAZIONE LEOPOLDA
by Noah Chen
Heads up, food lovers! From March 12th to the 14th at the Stazione Leopolda, you can flood your palates with a plethora of exciting flavors and textures at the Taste food event! The event is a convention where the best food flavors and lifestyles collide. For newcomers, Taste can give you a feel for what the best of the best have to offer in Italy. The festival is open to the public from 2:30pm to 7:30pm on Saturday and Sunday, and 9:30am to 4:30pm on Monday. During each day, multiple events will be held for a variety of activities both at Taste and throughout the city in the parallel Fuori di Taste calendar. For more information, you can refer to www.pittimmagine.com/en/corporate/fairs/taste.html.
FAI: DISCOVER FLORENCE THROUGH ITS HISTORIC BUILDINGS
by Aidan Loughran
The 25th FAI Spring Days event returns! If you have the desire to learn more about Italian heritage, this is the event for you. There will be free special openings of several Florentine places such as unique buildings and monuments throughout the weekend. This event will take place from March 25th to March 26th. What better way to discover Florence than through an organization committed to preserving Italy's landscape and heritage? For more information visit www.fondoambiente.it or call +39 02 4676151. By attending this event, we hope you can discover amazing Florentine locations you never thought existed or would have had the opportunity to see, and feel fully immersed in the cultural heritage of Italy.
REDAZIONE / MASTHEAD
Supplemento di / Supplement to Blending Magazine
Direttore Responsabile / Editor in chief
Reg. Trib. di Firenze nÂ° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011
Anno 7 - Numero 1 - Marzo 2017 Year 7 - Issue 1 - March 2017
Caporedattore / Editorial Director Grace Joh
Editore / Publisher Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore
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