A Talk organized by I Love Italian Food Cultural Association and dedicated to Emilia-Romagna and its excellence was held last June 26 at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC, in the booth of the Emilia-Romagna Region. 

Moderated by Francine Segan, writer and food historian who is an expert on Italian cuisine, the panel discussion gave voice to four representatives of Made in Italy in the United States: Dino Borri, General Manager Eataly USA, Michele Casadei Massari, Executive Chef Lucciola NYC Restaurant and Brand Ambassador of Parmigiano Reggiano in the USA, Cesare Casella, President of the Italian Chefs Association in New York – AICNY, and Stefano Secchi, Executive Chef of Rezdora NYC Restaurant. 

Four different points of view, all connected by the same goal of sharing with the audience of professionals attending the fair, the new strong trend that is crossing the U.S. market: an immense passion for the Food Valley. 

Introducing the talk were institutional greetings from Alessandro Schiatti, President of I Love Italian Food Cultural Association, and Alessio Mammi, Minister for Agriculture, Agribusiness, Hunting and Fishing of the Emilia-Romagna Region. 

“Italian cuisine does not exist,” says Alessandro Schiatti, “but is the extraordinary sum of many local and regional cuisines. And it is precisely to enhance the thousands of typical Italian products that it is increasingly important to tell the stories of our land, supply chains and traditional cuisines of the territories. This is why we are pleased to collaborate with the Emilia-Romagna Region and to have organized this Talk entitled “Made in Emilia-Romagna,” which has precisely the objective of promoting the extraordinary products of the Food Valley, giving voice to some of the protagonists of Made in Italy here in New York, in order to understand how to spread them more and more to the North American market.”

After Councillor Mammi’s greeting, Francine Segan kicked off the panel discussion with the four protagonists. 

“The producers are the artists and the products are the works of art,” was how Dino Borri described the excellence of Emilia-Romagna, as he told how in the last 13 years the demand for products from the Food Valley has increased in retail and especially in Eataly outlets, of which he is manager in the US. 

Then it is the turn of Michele Casadei Massari, who in recent years has gained more and more notoriety, becoming an ambassador for the King of Cheeses: Parmigiano Reggiano DOP. He, who was born there in Emilia Romagna, enters the hearts of those present not only with a poetic account of his Bologna that almost teleports the listener to a walk under the porticoes, but by bringing attention to the very current problems that have arisen in Romagna following the violent flood that hit the region, also causing enormous damage to the crops and agri-food products of the area. 

The panel discussion continues with the point of view of the man who represents chefs, Cesare Casella, president of the largest association of Italian chefs in North America – AICNY. His is a story that shows how, not only in retail, but also in catering, the presence of Food Valley products has increased in recent years. Today, more and more restaurateurs, not only those with chefs of Emilia-Romagna origins, know and use authentic products. Precisely those products Chef Casella talks about during his teachings at ALMA cooking school.

Finally, another chef, Stefano Secchi, who does not boast Emilia-Romagna natives but found his mentor and major professional training in the Food Valley, takes the floor. He specializes in fresh pasta from Emilia, so much so that he named his New York restaurant “Rezdora” (one Michelin star). 

Childhood memories, Fellini quotes, images of Emilia-Romagna landscapes but, above all, good food is what more than anything else emerged as the common thread in the tales of the Food Valley that, it must be said, is really making all Americans fall in love.