Davide Scabin on the New 'Made in Italy'

We spoke to the chef of Combal.Zero about what Italian chefs can learn from Americans, and vice versa
Staff Writer
Davide Scabin

PH Brambilla-Serrani

Last week, Identità New York brought together Alain Ducasse, Massimo Bottura, Michael White, Mario Batali, and more, combining forces of American and Italian (and French) chefs to cook demos and dinners for lucky New Yorkers. We chatted with chef Davide Scabin of Combal.Zero, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Rivoli, Italy, about what to expect from Italian chefs in the future. Read on for a condensed edit of the interview (moderated by a translator).

The Daily Meal: What do you think we can expect from the Italian culinary scene?
Davide Scabin: First of all, we should codify "the Italian culinary scene." There are at least 20 different types of Italian cuisine because there are so many different regions. The new Italian cuisine is difficult to explain because it changes a lot from region to region.

TDM: Well, personally for you, what do you think are the more exciting developments happening? Because so much of what we think about Italian food is very homey.
DS:
New "Made in Italy" is not your grandma's home-cooking. There are new techniques; contemporary Italian cuisine is much more modern. It's lighter, but it still sticks to tradition, and that's what we should communicate.

TDM: What are some changes you hope to see in the future? 
DS:
 Italian chefs should be able to create a system where they are reunited with the same goal. A bad characteristic of Italian chefs is that they are all individualistic, they don't create groups. It is important for them to join in a group and communicate in the same way. What's happening in Italy, if you talk to a chef in the north or the center of Italy, or the south, it seems like they come from different countries. They don't speak the same language.

TDM: So why come together to create one vision for Italian cuisine? Why is that important?
DS:
If you see what happened with Spanish cuisine, it became very popular or well-known because the chefs were able to communicate in the same way.

TDM: And how do you see the American-Italian and Italian culinary scenes learning from each other?
DS:
Here in the States, chefs who cook Italian food are very good at the home-cooking Italian cuisine for big numbers. Italians should learn from American chefs on how to do big numbers, because Italian chefs focus on minimalism for high-end restaurants. So there should be an exchange between the two; Italians should do more cooking for more people, more home-cooking, and Americans should learn to be more minimalist.

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