When it comes to Italian food, pizza and pasta is as traditional a cuisine as it gets and in October 2018, Mahak Mannan got to visit Milan with one of the leading companies in the pasta world, Barilla, to celebrate World Pasta Day and attend the Barilla Pasta World Championship. Carolina Diaz, representing the USA was crowned the Master of Pasta at the end of the two-day championship and we have all the details for you.
Eighteen chefs under the age of 35 from 17 different countries and Italian cruise line Costa Cruise participated in the single-elimination tournament, the Pasta World Championship in Milan last year. The event, which is now in its seventh year was organized under the theme ‘Eat Positive’ and offered a unique look into the importance of pasta in a healthy diet, from live cooking demonstrations, tastings, and conferences wellbeing and sustainability from field to table.
Barilla also revealed its very first legume pasta line made entirely of red lentil flour and chickpea flour, at the event. The new Barilla Penne Red lentils, Casarecce chickpeas, and Fusilli Red lentils were launched as part of Barilla’s continuous efforts to encourage a greener, more sustainable food chain.
Michelin-starred chefs Lorenzo Cogo, Viviana Varese, Luigi Taglienti, and Holger Stromberg along with American food photographer and influencer Brittany Wright formed the jury. Chef Davide Oldani, Barilla brand ambassador and a visionary in the Italian food world was also present at the event, while John Dickie, best-seller author and professor, and Francesca Romana Barberini, author and personality, acted as masters of ceremony. Kitchen Theory co-founder Jozef Youssef and basil farming trailblazer Giuseppe Bonati joined the event as speakers.
Speaking on the theme of the year, Raffaele Daloiso, chief marketing officer at Barilla Group said: “At Barilla, we want to encourage the next generation of talented chefs to express themselves through pasta and ultimately inspire food lovers across the world to eat in a positive and healthy way.”
At the end of the nail-biting two-day competition, Carolina Diaz, 34, of Terzo Piano at the Art Institute of Chicago, USA, won the title of Master of Pasta at the seventh edition of the Pasta World Championship. Competing against 17 other young chefs from across the globe, Diaz cooked a reinvented Spaghetti al Pomodoro, which won the judges hearts, in the finale against Chinese chef Toby Wang, 33, from Beijing. Diaz used every part of the tomato to make a dish that exemplified the perfect balance between acidity and sweetness. She added the stem to the sauce for an herbaceous component and used three different types of cherry tomatoes for the sauce.
“I’m truly honored, I did Italian my way,” Diaz, American chef and winner of the 2018 Barilla Pasta World Championship said. “I’m honored to be the first woman to win the Master of Pasta title, women are taking over and it’s time that our work gets recognized around the world.”
Diaz grew up in a large Mexican family outside of Chicago and learned how to balance flavours from her father. After a few years working as a line cook, Diaz decided to explore Italian cuisine in 2012 and eventually joined the Terzo Piano team at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 as chef di cucina. Diaz believes in using local, organic, and sustainable products to cook delicious Mediterranean dishes with a Midwestern twist.
The Barilla Group
Founded in Parma in 1877 from a bakery and pasta-making store, Barilla is now one of Italy’s biggest food groups and a world leader in the pasta and ready-to-use sauces market in mainland Europe and Scandinavian countries. The Barilla Group has 28 production sites, 14 in Italy and 14 abroad, and exports to more than 100 countries.
Every year, the company’s plants produce about 1,800,000 tons of food products, enjoyed by consumers all over the world, under the Barilla, Mulino Bianco, Harrys, Pavesi, Wasa, Filiz, Yemina and Vesta, Misko, Voiello, Gran Cereali, Pan di Stelle, and Academia Barilla brands.
When he opened his store in 1877, Pietro Barilla’s overriding aim was to make good food. Today, that principle has become Barilla’s corporate mission under the ‘Good for You, Good for the Planet’ approach. ‘Good for You’ means constantly improving the products, encouraging the adoption of healthy lifestyles, and improving people’s access to food and social inclusion while ‘Good for the Planet’ means promoting sustainable supply chains and reducing CO2 emissions and water consumption during production.