the forum

With the arrival of half a million Italians in Australia between the 1940s and 1980s, Australia has sometimes been described as Italy’s 21st region. “Italian” food is deeply entrenched in the “Australian” culinary tradition, with pizza, ‘spaghetti Bolognese’ and cappuccino normal daily fare. But in adapting to the ingredients and tastes of a new continent, have the people who serve Italian food wandered too far from the source or, as so often happens when cultures are transplanted from their native soil, are Australia’s Italian chefs trying to hold on to traditions that have long died out in Italy? Explore the world of Italian food outside of Italy – how it’s evolved on Australian soil and where it’s going next - with leading Italian chefs, food writers and academics.

Olivia Riordan is a freelance food writer with recent Good Living cover stories to her credit. With a burning desire to learn more about food, Olivia recently visited the Chianti countryside and some of the region’s most renowned producers of olive oil, truffles, wine and pasta. $10/session

Armando Percuoco
10am – 11.30
Traditions Worth Preserving             Code: 1CS
This panel discussion looks at how Italians have made Australian cuisine interesting, and where they're taking it in 2011 and beyond. Expect some lively discussion from chefs Armando Percuoco, who arrived in Australia 30 years ago when many Australians still bought olive oil from a pharmacy, and Nino Zoccali, who was born in Australia to a father who kept his Calabrian traditions alive especially around the dinner table, with journalist Joanna Savill, whose Food Lovers Guide to Australia, took us into the homes of many Italian-Australian families, and winemaker, doctor and lecturer, Aniello Iannuzzi, who was born in Australia to parents who emigrated from southern Italy.

Panel Chair: David Dale
Speakers: Armando Percuoco; Nino Zoccali; Joanna Savill; Aniello Iannuzzi

Giovanni Pilu
1pm – 2.30
Debate: That Italian Cooking in Australia Needs a Good Kick in the Pans      Code: 2CS
Are innovation and respect for tradition necessarily mutually exclusive? This debate, chaired by Simon Marnie, and adjudicated by the audience, will look at whether or not some of Australia’s Italian chefs are bogged down in tradition and unwilling to embrace innovation or whether some are putting innovation ahead of tradition, creating a hybrid cuisine that’s disrespectful of a long, noble culinary history.

Chairman: Simon Marnie
Adjudicator: the audience by a show of hands
The affirmative team: Lucio Galletto; Simon Thomsen; Paolo Totaro
The negative team: Giovanni Pilu; Pat Nourse; Rory Steele