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Gualtiero Marchesi. One master, many different stories

An exhibition dedicated to the unrivaled protagonist of our gastronomic scene in Milan, until June 20th. The most renowned cooks have been influenced by him without being his copies. The example, in the end, is the highest form of teaching

A long awaited exhibition has been opened on April 16th in the Sale Viscontee at Castello Sforzesco in Milan. Gualtiero Marchesi and the great Italian cooking were finally admitted to a prestigious scene, not only to celebrate his 80th birthday, but also to expand this occasion to “Storiae d’Italia”.

The show is organized through seven stages which represent the stories of Marchesi’s life and culinary accomplishments, with parallels with the seven musical notes and the seven brushstrokes on the cover of the master’s menu. The start is dedicated to Marchesi’s roots: Corte Olona e San Zenone Po, followed by the raw materials on which is research was focused, under the suggestions of the sounds, of the colors of the food from the market close to which his family owned a hotel.

The accuracy of his cooking techniques is shown by the review of his saucepans, and of the whisks he often projected expressly for certain recipes. In the section dedicated to his equipment, the most interesting items are the original flutes for water, a white plate with a black square in the center to emphasize a mozzarella, the artistically ironic forks made by Bruno Munari and the silverware that combines design and functionality.

When talking about Gualtiero Marchesi his attitude towards schooling without taking away the creativeness from his protégés is legendary: the most renowned Italian cooks have been influenced by him but none is his copy.

This was emphasized in the presentation of the exhibition as a sign that Marchesi “taught inside”. He said: “We are what we saw and had the chance to do, we need a great orchestra but without good materials we cannot become great composers. I am as moderns as my story allows me to be, the past should never be thrown away in favor of anything completely new”.

Gualtiero Marchesi is today the president of the international school of Alma in Colorno (Parma), and his calling to consider cooking as an art is exemplified by his desire to create a Foundation to spread arts, particularly the art of cooking of course. This exhibitions shows it at perfection: not only through the recipes dedicated to famous artists such as Burri, Pollock e Piero Manzoni, but also for the space dedicated to his friends Aldo Calvi and Luigi Veronelli, and for Marchesi’s and his family’s, especially his wife’s, unique relationship with music. Paintings from his collection, from painters like Enrico Baj or Emilio Tadini, are shown in the exhibition as well.

The story told by the exhibition is concluded by the transition from the inspiration taken by nouvelle cuisine to the total cuisine. The exhibition is also completed by gastronomic demonstrations and events to experiment M’Arte.
In the end, it is natural to think that Gualtiero Marchesi’s history looks made of more than one story, more than one life. The sensation given by the exhibition is that it is hard to synthesize the many suggestions, and each leaves a mark because Gualtiero Marchesi deserves credit for paving the way, in Italian gastronomy to many others who share his passion for cooking, because “the example is, in the end, the highest form of teaching”.

Gualtiero Marchesi e la grande cucina italiana
Aprile 17th – June 20th 2010
Milano – Castello Sforzesco – Sale Viscontee

by Monica Sommacampagna
07 june 2010, Food Notes > Miscellanea