Just seven months after the first edition of IMAFS CHEFS CUP, which concluded in September in San Francisco, the second edition of the international competition, has come to an end decreeing its two deserving winners: ANDREA MATTEI e ISIDE DE CESARE, the chefs who participated in the seventh stage of the event, which took place last March 21 in Viareggio, with the movie “Room with a View”, from the pages of Edward Morgan Forster, as its theme.
As the organizer I am very happy for the victory of the MATTEI-DE CESARE Couple, who, just like the couple of chefs who won the previous edition of the competition, the superlative Cerveni-Marziale, are true talents in the restaurant business, and pride for the whole country, and share a cocktail of qualities, that I personally deem winning, but not always meet with the approval of success: HUMILITY, TALENT, PASSION AND PERSEVERANCE. United by the love for their work, their land and its flavors.

They are simple and easy-going, Andrea and Iside, just like Rosanna and Stefano and all the 18 chefs of IMAF CHEFS CUP. Chefs who chose to do what they do following a dream, a passion that in many cases is part of their heritage and family DNA. Iside, born in the region of Lazio, is a mother and manages La Parolina, together with her husband Romano Gordini in Trevinano, a pleasant little country restaurant awarded for some years now with a well-deserved Michelin star. Andrea, from Tuscany, for the last eight years has been at the helm of La Magnolia restaurant in Forte dei Marmi’s Hotel Byron. Both have significant experience on their shoulders, in Italy and abroad. And they earned their stars, which, with the attention it receives, MUST make a difference.

In order to participate to IMAF CHEFS CUP, Andrea, Iside and all the other chefs had to lend themselves to a game with rules that are not always congenial: They were coupled with other chefs, not of their own choosing, together they had to pick a movie that would inspire their two recipes, they had to travel to tackle a cooking show at the home of a third chef, the chef resident of the beautiful five-star SINA chain, which hosted all nine stages of the Cup in Italy. All the while running the risk of finding themselves in uncomfortable situations, which can happen when working as a guest in someone else’s kitchen, being used to work as masters in their own.
Victory, therefore, is a harmony of elements that depends largely on us, but that is also governed by the logic capricious of fortune or fate, if you prefer. For this reason, sometimes the final results displace the charts and predictions, but in this case especially, they are outside any logic of power.

IMAF CHEFS CUP is in fact an event outside of the lobbies’ logic of power thatt revolves around the world of gastronomy and chefs. It has carved itself a small artistic space that is subject to some simple and clear tenets:
-great Italian food,
-International flare

And one last great little rule that, these days, is so important, that is QUALITATIVE (AND ARTISTIC) LOW COST. That whose recipes are full of ingredients sourced at local markets, that which boasts fun, good and easy-going chefs (the opposite of reality shows), that of the foodbloggers who are more erotic food maniacs than pompous experts, that of an individual who is beginning to understand that we are what we eat.

"Seppioline novelle, cereali ed erbe di campo" by Andrea Mattei and "Pastiera di orzo e frutto della passione in frolla di semi di papavero" by Iside De Cesare. These are the simple, unpretentious recipes inspired by the beautiful movie ROOM WITH A VIEW, that one IMAF CHEFS CUP, yet the balance between flavor and simplicity of the ingredients joined perfectly with the presence of the chefs at the center of dining room, who made the star shine without blinding the guests and without causing the usual dull murmurs.. “eh, I’ve been making this since I was a kid, you don’t need a Michelin Star..” Since in these times of reality shows, we’re not just singers, writers, showgirls and soccer players, but we are, also, chefs.
Paolo Salvetti (President of online magazine VersiliaToday), Irene Arquint (Oenogastronomic journalist - ll Tirreno), Fabrizio Diolaiuti (Journalist and host of "Le vie del cibo") were the excellent panel of industry experts who acted as accomplices and voted for the victory of this GASTRONOMIC-ARTISTIC couple with the following ratings:
1) goodness of the dish: 20 out of 20
2) adherence to the theme: 19 out of 20
3) couple’s complicity: 20 out of 20
4) costo of the dish (cost/goodness relation): 20 out of 20

It is therefore time for AMERICA, This June, the couple will land in New York City and will explode performing in front of another prestigious international jury.
As in the previous edition, I am certain that the victory of one of the two chefs will be just a formality. The complicity this couple has created in this case, as it was with the previous winners, is absolutely genuine and well balanced. It will, in fact, bring the already famous name of fine “Made in Italy” cuisine overseas, and the memory of a young passionate and talented couple of chefs, who participated in a competition in Italy and came to receive the honors and prize of the Big Apple will remain in posterity.
Rossella Canevari

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