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Magazine ENG June 2020

Where politics has not arrived, chefs arrive

Waiting for the reopening, the stars of Campania and Calabria present their protocol “because those who do not know the world of cooking cannot know the dynamics inside”

Between doubts and little information on the new rules to be respected at the restaurant, many have decided to wait before leaving.  Furthermore, since there is no official protocol, the individual regions take different initiatives, fueling further confusion among the workers in the sector.  For this reason, some chefs have decided to take the situation head-on and draw up a decalogue that is truly valid and effective.

“We realized that an official protocol was needed for the Calabria region,” says Luca Abbruzzino, of the Abbruzzino restaurant who, like many other colleagues, chose not to leave last May 18.  “The most important thing inside the restaurant is human warmth, today there is no such relaxed atmosphere.  It wouldn’t have made any sense to leave without customer’s presence.  We plan to stall for a while longer.  I expect to reopen for mid-june but it depends on how the situation will evolve. ”  Antonio Corfionale from the Hyle restaurant and Campanian Giuseppe Iannotti from Krésios also have the same opinion.  The reason?  Most people today aren’t sure.  “As much as people want normality, it will take some time before they return to the restaurant the same as before”, explains Abbruzzino and precisely on the wave of these doubts, related to the lack of clear documents, the Calabrian chef thought to create a  protocol for the restaurants of its region in synergy with Biafora and thanks to the help of an architect and a fast food entrepreneur, in order to  include all the realities of the restaurant world.  Together they thought about the right rules to allow everyone to work well and safely.

“As Calabrians we always rolled up our hands to work seeing that many bureaucrats could not draw up a protocol or at least a project on how to start again, we needed to hurry so we got to work and we tried to make one ourselves”  , Antonio Biafora reports that speaks from the heart of Sila.  Even if his restaurant has only four seats and an AHU (air treatment unit) equal to that of the operating rooms, he did not feel like reopening: the restaurant is strongly linked to the Resort in which it is located and consequently to leave again it must  necessarily wait for the latter to reopen.  To remedy the moment of stop and try to remedy the economic damage also linked to the events sector, Biafora is creating an online shop with national delivery of wine, preserves and biscuits, and another on the territory of bread,   fresh pasta and leavened.  “In these months we will suffer but I hope that in a few years we will be able to recover.  Working without the support of weddings and ceremonies is a test for us to see if we can survive. ”  What the restaurant world needs now are certain and clear rules that leave no room for free interpretation, conceived and studied by people in the sector who know exactly how to work in a restaurant.  “We wanted to present our idea because those who do not know the world of cooking cannot know what the dynamics are inside.  Each region must be autonomous but there must be the same guidelines for all adaptable to the needs of each.  It is right that the protocol is ministerial, “adds Biafora.  Among the highlights of the protocol presented to Calabria there is the calculation of the spacing that is done for people seated and is equal to 1.5 meters from the center of the chair.  In addition, there is self-certification for the members of the same family unit so that there are no problems for social distancing.  Unlike others, there will be no obligation to measure the temperature: “If when you go to the supermarket it is not measured, why should you measure it in the restaurant?”.  An important focus is on the operators: in large kitchens, if you keep the distance of 1 meter there is no obligation to wear a mask, while those with limited spaces must absolutely wear all personal safety devices.  Obviously there is the discussion on the menus: via the browsable classics replaced by the electronic ones or those that can be downloaded via the app.

The proposal by the chef from Krésios, Giuseppe Iannotti is also decisive. With his scientific document of institutional value, he has decided to propose to Campania a protocol summarized in 17 points for the reopening conceived by those who live in the kitchen every day.  “In the document I reiterated the Krésios standards but this is not an adaptation to the covid: my restaurant represents a restaurant where the well-being of guests is 360 degrees.  For example, we have not had the à la carte menu for 3 years and we are always attentive to sanitation – explains Iannotti – for me there is little news “.  Iannotti decided to wait in Telese Terme because the table represents sharing and if at the moment people are not really ready to go out for dinner, keeping open is only a cost.  “I am against forced and premature reopenings: what is the point of reopening if then nobody would come to eat?  I will reopen on June 3 only if the state guarantees people the freedom to move from one region to another”.

Just like Abbruzzino and Biafora, the chef from Campania is also convinced of one thing: in this moment of uncertainties, the company is taking more risks to reopen than to remain closed a little longer.  Now is the time to give life to new ideas that are valid and efficient for the future “since many activities are frozen what we have to do scrupulously is to plan and not run like so many colleagues who have jumped on delivery without calculating the relative costs”  .  Help is given by public land concessions that many municipalities are adopting.  “It allows you to increase the number of place settings.  There is a lot of desire but the first precaution that restaurateurs must have is to respect their territory and favor the small local producers who have suffered the greatest damage.  Now we need to help each other to revive the nation”.

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