2023 Author: Cody Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-06-06 02:02
He had made headlines more or less eighteen months ago, when he claimed that the zero kilometer was an excuse to raise restaurant prices.
And that indeed, many restaurateurs speculate on zero kilometer products: they are the ones that the locals pay less, but paradoxically end up costing more.
The Friulian Matteo Metullio, 27 years old, chef of the restaurant " Siriola"Of San Cassiano, in Alta Badia, at the time the youngest starred in Italy, perhaps he did not expect his frank and disenchanted vision of the relationship between food supply and gastronomic offer to trigger so much controversy.
Today we returned to the subject for an in-depth study on the topic of the short supply chain and to understand if it is actually possible to establish a correlation between quality and proximity for the products we bring to the table.
“The starting point of our work is quality - Metullio explains to us - if in the search for the ingredients for a dish I find a valuable product, far from my area, why should I deprive myself of it and deprive the customer?
The zero km makes sense, for example, if it refers to products that express a territory (in my case the mountains). But if for a dish I need Gragnano spaghetti or anchovy sauce, two specialties from Campania, why should I deprive myself of them? Just because they are distant from me ?.
For a structure like the one where I work, which includes 5 restaurants and can serve up to 300 meals a day, a zero-kilometer menu would mean always serving the same dishes. Since they are a local dish made from local ingredients to customers I should offer canerdeli every day.
Mine is not a crusade against kilometer zero, but there are places where it is feasible (for example bed & breakfasts or small guesthouses, where the supply of food is different in numbers from that of restaurants and the hotel sector), others where it is impossible.
Customers are also looking for variety: if the chef is able to guarantee it with products available around the corner, he does it, otherwise he goes elsewhere and farther .
In short, zero kilometer is not synonymous with quality and geographical proximity does not alone guarantee excellence.
"I want to be honest with customers and explain that provenance does not ensure the value of a product".
To those who reply that at the basis of the consumption of zero kilometer products there is also an ecological commitment and the will to reduce emissions and environmental impact, Metullio replies that there are other methods to achieve the goal, for example by organizing a more substantial but less frequent but to reduce transport costs.
We add that the correlation between the kilometers traveled by food and energy consumption has long been showing the rope.
Very interesting is a study by Defra, the British ministry of environment and agriculture, to verify the usefulness of the food mile (the British equivalent of kilometer zero) as an index of environmental sustainability.
The conclusion is that an index based only on the distance traveled cannot be a reliable measure of the environmental impact for several reasons, one of which, for example, is the fact that about half of the mileage traveled, 48%, is attributable to buyer.
In practice, the study states that, for the sake of ecology, it is preferable to do a substantial shopping at the supermarket than to go several times to small shops.
Our Matteo Metullio does not consider the ecological and environmental implications of consumption to be secondary, but shows another perspective from which to look at things: the quality of the gastronomic offer, with due consideration for customer expectations.
This is the reason for its "real kilometer", created in contrast to zero kilometer, and to be considered as a total quality index.
And given the abstract concepts become more understandable at the table, we tell you that at the end of March, in San Cassiano, the real km will be the protagonist of "The roots of excellence", a day dedicated to excellence without geographical limits in which they will participate, including the others, producers like Paolo Parisi, restaurateurs like Lionello Cera and Giuseppe Zen and a pizza chef like Simone Padoan.
But how, you will say, if we hear from many of Metullio's starred colleagues nothing but small producers, local cuisine …
“Do you know what the truth is?”, Concludes the Friulian chef?
With this zero kilometer story, restaurateurs manage to charge you 40 euros for a salad just because it was picked from the restaurant's vegetable garden.
Crazy stuff .