“The fatty meat? Quality index, we need to educate about the food culture “

In a season where you are in the butcher shop if you only look for lean slices for the roll and lean minced meat for the filling, you also risk losing the parameters to recognize quality. And the fat is an index of the quality of the meat: if it is good, it means that the animal has eaten well, it has been fed well. It does not make much sense to buy a steak, remove the fat and then maybe season it with oil. If the breeder has kept up with all that, the chef does not have much to add ».

Cristiano Tomei, chef at Lucca’s L’Imbuto restaurant, He has a knowledge of meat that originates primarily from Tuscan origins and then from an in-depth study of over twenty years of career, many of whom used proselytizing on traditional cooking (“more fire and less vacuum”) and against excessive use of technology in the kitchen ( “more knife and sieve, fewer stick blenders”). It is no coincidence that he was among the judges in the happy TV show I king of the grid, as well as starred in Alessandro Borghese and Gennaro Esposito of Cuochi d’Italia, and among its symbolic dishes the meat on the pine bark stands out, a kind of primitive steak of uncooked rump strips, but seasoned with beef fat (yes, cooked).

What does the meat represent to you?
“First of all a premise. I love all meat, but for us Tuscans, when we talk about meat without specifying anything else, we are talking about beef, cattle. For us Tuscans” meat is a feeling, a material that is connected to the roots. Let’s take the steak for example. It is a strong attraction that refers to the traditions and culture of sharing because it is a specialty that is being brought to the table to be shared among the diners ”.

But tradition also presupposes an evolution.
“Of course. And in fact, with the greater skills and insights, we can now improve it better than before. If we used to think that the fresh was better, that is, the freshly cut clothes, today there is a whole culture. Of ripening and dry storage, which is true is a very old maturation technique or one that has recently become very popular.It is important to know the protein denaturation process of the enzymes present in the meat tissue, for an optimal result in terms of taste and consistency.well is not bloody, even when the desired cooking is “rare”. The kitchen must keep up with the times “.

And how does this fit in with the need for sustainable products over time? “
Right. We must agree on the concept of sustainable. Fortunately, the more conscious consumption of meat has grown, as cattle farming has a strong environmental impact. This means making sure that the meat does not come from intensive farming – not even sustainable from an animal welfare point of view – and it means keeping in mind that an animal is not just fillet and steak. There are all the cuts, such as those that involve long cooking, from tail to head and entrails. Too bad they boil smaller and smaller brain, which was once also used to lengthen ragù, and tongue, not to mention lungs, liver and kallu. “Buying even the less valuable cuts does not mean giving up meat, but limiting the number of animals raised and slaughtered.”

& quot;  Promote less noble carvings and alternative cooking methods to the more 'ungraves';  in fashion & quot;

“Promote less noble cuts and alternative cooking methods to the more fashionable”

How can chefs do their part?
Precisely by promoting less noble pieces of meat and making sure you have meat from secure supply chains. In this, I am fortunate to work with a company of visionaries, Pantano Carni, who has dedicated everything to expertise and animal welfare. I myself have visited their property in Arre in the province of Padua in the Venetian countryside several times and discovered a virtuous reality. More than a short supply chain we can say total supply chain. On more than 100 hectares owned by the group, they grow hay to feed their livestock, free to graze during the day and housed in state-of-the-art stables at night, complete with air purifiers. The slaughter responds to all precautions to avoid stressing the animals and with a network of collaborations in the territory, nothing is wasted, from the skins to even the plant to the conversion of wastewater into biomethane “.

Is it with Pantano that you experience long maturations?
This collaboration has opened new boundaries for me. We have reached a maturation of up to a thousand days and achieve unique flavor nuances, an extremization of the taste up to meat rich in umami, just as intense as certain spiced meats. And grease is litmus paper. Fragrant, with hints of hay and undergrowth. So good that in some recipes I use it to season pasta “.

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