Never in the entire history of mankind have we been so conscious about food as we are today. Countless books and articles are published and the products of diet gurus and nutritional experts are in great demand while science continues to unravel one food myth after the other.
The Westin Excelsior Hotel in Florence was the elegant setting for the presentation of new revelations about what we eat on a daily basis. The project “Di Che Cibo 6” or in English “What Food R U” is an initiative of Nicoletta Arbusti and ties in perfectly with the popular statement “You are what you eat”. A small group of journalists and bloggers were invited to report on the event and upon entering we received a T-shirt and a notebook. After introductions and small talk everyone found a place at the tables where glasses and cutlery were laid out for later use.
During the first part of the presentation psychologist Nicoletta Arbusti and pedagogue Silvia Guetta talked about the important role that food plays in our lives and how the complicated relationship we have with food and beverage has changed over the centuries. We have become increasingly aware of our diet and the effects various foods have on our health. Food has become so much more than a necessity in order to survive; sharing a meal is a social event where culture, religion and education play an important role.
During the second part neurologist Roberta Chiara Monti and chef Entiana Osmenzeza presented the results of many hours of testing and experimenting in the kitchen with different foods and ingredients.
A lot has been said lately in the media about antioxidants and their ability to neutralize damaging free radicals. During the experiments of project “What Food R U” different ingredients were tested for their antioxidant value (rH value) before and after preparation. An ingredient or dish with a rH value lower than 22 has a high antioxidant capacity, while anything above that limit is harmful to our organism. The tests showed that ingredients with a high and therefore harmful rH value could achieve a reduced rH value of below 22 during their preparation, sometime by only adding simple ingredients such as olive oil, salt and pepper.
Executive chef Entiana Osmenzeza of Sesto on Arno located in the Westin Excelsior hotel had prepared three dishes for us with a healthy rH value: pork in broth with daikon and carrot, ombrina fish served on sweet and sour eggplant with tomato sauce and finally a dessert of mango sorbet with chocolate crumble and mango caramel served in a bowl of ice. The caramel was so spectacularly delicious that we used our spoon as an ice pick to chisel off pieces of the ice bowl that had partially absorbed the sweet treat. The Food and Beverage Service Manager of the hotel Marino Sartorato had chosen two fine wines to complement the dishes.
The team of “What Food R U” treated the audience to a very interesting and educational afternoon, I hope that the project will cause a media buzz and will also be continued with a part II. It would be wonderful if we could all eat healthier by making simple adjustment in how we prepare our food.