From California to Colorno, Google meets ALMA
Notwithstanding the distance, ALMA and Google share the same objectives in the communication and promotion of quality food. Google research activities in fact don’t stop at its search engine, used by billions, but are also internal to the company, aimed at implementing a progressive food program: Google Food Services. The project is finalised towards offering meals to the 70000 employees distributed in offices located in 50 countries worldwide. Google’s project is also committed to the professional training and development of employees engaged in its restaurants. It is because of this pledge that Rosa Amelia Carrillo Villeran, Sous Chef at Bon Appétit Cafeteria, one of the 30 outlets operating on behalf of Google food Services in Mountain View, enjoyed 4 formative weeks at ALMA.
Chef Carrillo’s journey panned form the roots of traditional Italian cuisine to its contemporary evolutions, allowing her to venture into the flavours and techniques typical of dishes belonging to the country’s culinary culture. Emblematic, during the stay, has been the realm of fresh pasta, specifically Garganelli, which offered a multi-dimensional take on the subject by showing their role as a pasta type strictly linked with the gestures required in preparing it, allowing Chef Carillo to comprehend how, in Italian cuisine, the act of cooking doesn’t stop at preparation but becomes part of a lifestyle. A way of life that in ALMA, as the young American chef states, is constant: “first and foremost, at ALMA no one says canteen but the term restaurant is used so, in a certain way, students continue learning when they are on break as well: from the buffet layout to the ritual of portioning meat in front of guests. Mealtimes are intended not only as moments to fuel the body but also as occasions to stimulate the mind”
Rosa Carrillo has defined this stimuli as brainfood. Food for the mind, inspirational in developing new ideas. At ALMA Chef Carrillo had the chance to refine the concept that “In all cultures there is a link between body and mind. If Italy has been at the top of global gastronomy, especially after recent successes, it is precisely thanks to the link between the variety of ingredients and the modern reinterpretation of culinary traditions”. The concept has been particularly relevant during the Peruvian’s Chef experience at Osteria Francescana of Chef Massimo Bottura. “In the classical style of a lasagna alla bolognese one can glimpse that innovation, as respectful as it is incredible. Even more so for someone who comes from the other side of the world”
Notwithstanding the numerical difference, the denominator is a common one: from the 400 meals served daily at ALMA to the 20 million consumed yearly throughout the whole Google Food program, focus is placed on respecting flavours, traditions and, most importantly, seasonality.
As Rosa Carillo could see, lifestyle and brainfood are elements that, intertwined, jointly contribute to shaping the role of an ALMA Chef. Professionals urged to work within a sustainable framework, responsible for what they offer guests and operating in consciously involved manner. Google’s motto is “do the right thing”.
The kilometres separating California from Colorno are still 9926 but, in light of Rossi Carrillo’s experience, are Google and ALMA really that distant?