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Daniele Reponi

Half pork butcher and half inn keeper. But, above all, he is not a chef.
A “kitchenstoryteller”, he tells us about what there is behind a product and a territory, he succeeds to tell “gastronomic fairy tales “ to us.

Hi Daniele, you usually introduce yourself as an Inn Keeper, and you clearly distinguish this role from the chef one .Can you explain to us why ? Inn keeper is an “old fashion” word, popular and simple .What do you like and what’s there behind the Inn keeper concept?

Chef has a clear role inside the kitchen. It’s up to him/her to manage the kitchen brigade. As I very often do my job by myself , this alone would be enough to explain why I don’t call my self as chef. But, I also would like to go further : as being the head of the kitchen, the chef must have a big know- how about cooking skills. Personally and professionally speaking I have got very basic cooking skills and at the same time ,my skills are very tied to our tradition. The inn keeper and inn as location both suit me much more than others.
Last but not least, there is an ethimological reason: the word inn keeper (oste in Italian)comes from latin hospes that means guest. It recalls the hospitality concepts and caring about my guests , that’s what I like in my job.

We were wondering if the origin of your passion for sandwich , a simple and easy product that led you till the Italian Sandwich Academy, was born from how you are , I mean, simple and easy like you ?

Probably it’s true. I’ve always had a low profile. That‘s me, and it let me be free from the superstructural aspects typical of the chef role today. I mean today being social and caring about one’s image is very important . I’m terrified of appearing what I’m not, or upgrading my skills and my professional results.
Unfortunately sometimes I see some of my colleagues do that. I do prefer to deepen research, experimentation and job. Perhaps I’m presumptuous, but I think that the direct knowledge about me let people understand who I am.

You really are a story teller inside the kitchen, perhaps you’re really a “kitchen teller “. You like to tell what there is behind a product and a territory. You tell gastronomic tales on TV, during your show cooking and on the radio, while preparing yet another sandwich. Where does it come this story telling passion?

I think that this passion comes from my passion for the novel.I love novel from when I was a child.
Particularly, long time ago, on Italian TV 3 there was a broadcast about books conducted by the writer Alessandro Baricco .I was touched when I was listening him to talk about some aspects of “The old and the sea” novel .Before that I had not realized these nuances .
I try to make the same operation when I talk about the sandwich: my story telling introduces people to taste it, because, first you taste with mind and then with mouth. Besides that, my storytelling talks about the job of suppliers who are involved with me. They are the true artists and they deserve to be told by me.

You are a born popularizer, you explain ingredient and territory in such an easy way and so you do with the combination you create .That means a deep and educated search for upstream producers, both handcrafted or industrial .You always are looking for taste, mix, tradition , hands and faces, passion and never ending search. Why are you so keen of knowing?

This answer is very easy for me: behind that there is only passion.Passion is made by curiosity and empathy .Curiosity is absolutely necessary to look for something , to find out something .It looks like a treasure hunt because, when we talk about some produtcs, we must say they are like treasures. Empathy is necessary to stimulate the spirit of sharing that human being has when people consume food.I mean , if I taste a product I like, it gives me a great pleasure ,that the reason why I, immediately, need to share this emotion with others. Empathy lets me connect with producers because I can understand their efforts and care to reach big results, and, I also must say that this message strengthen my story telling.

Web network, social media can help you to convey your storytelling?Today the web is a huge network to share comparisons, enhancements, criticism and exchanges that can help to share very quickly ideas and projects , if somebody uses it in a right way .What do you think about it?It could help you? Which is the difference between web and TV according to you?

In my opinion social and media communication are instruments and amplifiers. That’s what I think about them.
I totally agree about their importance and potential factor.The web is also a very important instrument to be exploited. I must say that I’m still quite diffident about social world for the same reasons I’ve already explained. It is very easy to create a fake image about oneself.I also must say that there is a generational fact: don’t forget that I was born last century and I’m fascinated about old media like radio and television. Lastly I must say that making TV or radio is very funny .You must know that I’ve always worked live exactly how I usually do, when I make a sandwich live. On the contrary, when I look at my videos , some of them are really boring .It is not live but is a preregistered activity in some way, and I always like working live.

Please , can you give us some news about your teachers or some pills you absorbed while staying together with cultured chef or with people from whom you have learnt your job? You have always mixed high culture and low culture , I mean, you mixed inside your sandwich the starred cuisine together with the daily and simple one . Don’t you think that food in Italy is a combination of very simple and traditional activity with higher influences?

Italian cuisine , more than others, has its roots in peasant world .These strong roots arise from farmers, pork butchers, skilled butchers, breeeders and so on .
Chef have had the role of make order about these traditions. Chefs , refining their own role , over the times , brought important improvements about cooking technicality. I had the chance to work with an inn keeper in Modena Apennines Mountain. I was really very young at that time and I was totally unaware about this job. He conveyed the importance to me about the deep knowledge and the choice of row material. Also later on, when I got to know the starred chef Massimo Bottura , I founded on him an amazing passion about cheese, cured meat or a simple mixed vegetables in oil.This authentic and engaging passion certainly contributed to make him one of the best chef in the world , and a unique example of a chef .I’ve always tried to keep these characteristic inside me.

Let’s talk now about truffle and T&C company .You know it very well as being their brand ambassador at truffle fair in Acqualagna during your cooking show. What do you think about T&C truffle products? They are made with quality and passion of “well and good done philosophy”and, last but not least, with affordable prices .

T&C truffle job fully falls within handcraftmanship food industry I was talking before.
When I first met the company and the family who runs the company, I found love and a deep knowledge about the beautiful truffle world. Their attention and care you can recognize inside T&C products: I like the balance between the top quality of truffle and their sauces and cream recipes. Once again this fact shows the T&C respect about truffle.
I also love that T&C company shares this sensitivity and huge knowledge with all of us , thanks to their affordable price products.

Which are your current and future projects? Travel of Taste project, important food company collaborations, television, radio , Institute of Protected Cured Meats, what else? And also, which have been the most satisfaying projects that made you grow?

Well, neverending ,I must say , is my professional growth .The more I know colleagues, producers company, the more I absorb knowledge and culture… So I must say that every job experience , past or (I hope) future , was very useful to me starting from the great effort when I used to work inside inns or restaurant, till the great pleasure to share my experience with millions of people thanks to the TV. What I really think about my future , exactly how it has been in the past, I would like going on to have fun.I have an amazing chance: I work and have fun at the same time. That’s my project: keep having fun.

STORY TO BE TOLD

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