Press Release – Interview by Rosalia Imperato
Passion moves the world and other stars. And it is precisely the passion that over the years has led Attilio Borra to dedicate himself with dedication and professionalism to the world of food. The first steps in the family kitchen and the many experiences around the world have built that huge background from which Attilio drew the necessary knowledge to create his own format with the aim of telling and promoting the good Made in Italy. Through his cooking courses - to learn how to cook, but also to deepen different topics such as the choice of ingredients, cooking techniques, the use of the right equipment and techniques to serve correctly - the experience as a personal chef - in where the user is guided by the purchase of the right ingredients to how to prepare them, which accessories to use and how to cook them correctly - and finally the company meetings, Attilio transmits the food and wine richness of his land as well as the work and culture intrinsic to food.
How did your passion for food start?
The tradition of good food and its correct use in my family has deep roots. In fact, my passion was born as a child when I was involved in the activities that were done every year in the family such as the grape harvest or the preparation of tomato preserves. Over time I have studied techniques and discovered new recipes that have allowed me to make my passion my business.
What were your first steps in the food and wine world?
From a very young age. I was still a teenager when I first left the nursery to move to Antwerp first and then Brussels, during the summer season, to gain experience in excellent restaurants. At the age of 18 I then landed in the United States where I started working in several Italian restaurants bringing my know-how but above all my culture trying to respect the originality of the dishes. After about 10 years back in Italy, I further deepened my studies and at the end of the 90s I started working as a personal chef for both companies and individuals.
What are you doing to make known the richness and food and wine excellences?
When I was in the USA my business allowed me to have direct contact with customers and to be able to tell them the history and origins of the ingredients I used when preparing the dishes. Today, due to the pandemic, I had to diversify my work, moving part of this to online platforms and social networks, here I disclose the history and culture of Italian food. I meet different producers, listen to their origins, their processes and transfer them to a stage of potential American customers through for example Instagram and Clubhouse.
What are your projects and set goals?
My project aims to disseminate Italian cuisine especially to foreign markets and in particular the American one and to export my knowledge to all those who want to deepen our culinary culture. I organize both didactic and practical classes in order to teach my customers our history, our territories as well as how to cook our typical recipes. Also in the USA I am the ambassador chef for some companies of Italian organic products and through my business we are working to introduce them to the American market.
You told us that due to the pandemic you had to move the dissemination of the Made in Italy product to the online platform and social networks. Tell us about your website?
The site is structured in several parts with a section dedicated to the offer of services, one to the sale of food products and kitchen equipment and a strictly playful section. As regards the offer of services, these are cooking lessons - educational classes or personal chef activities online and offline. As for the products, on the site it is possible to buy kitchen equipment and utensils such as pots, casseroles, knives of brands such as Staub, Ballarini, Miyabi and all the other brands of Zwilling, a German multinational for which I carry out consultancy activities. Food products, on the other hand, come from careful research and selection made between various artisan companies that still use ancient techniques for the production of organic and organic foods. These techniques enhance the flavors and keep the organoleptic characteristics of the food intact and bring the true essence of our territory to the table. Finally, in the playful section we have included the Recipes in music section: each recipe described and explained is combined with a Spotify playlist that is as long as the preparation time of that particular recipe, so in addition to giving an indication of cooking times, it also serves to cheer and accompany the moment of preparation.
How are the didactic classes organized?
Cooking lessons or teaching classes are currently mostly online. They have a maximum number of 8 people in order to better follow each individual student. They are divided into themes - appetizers, first courses, main courses of meat or fish, etc. - and divided into a historical and cultural part with an explanation of the origin of the products and dishes and a technical part that includes an explanation of cooking techniques and how to make the recipes. It is very important not to focus only on the technique, but to transmit the history, the origins, the culture, the tradition ... in such a way that when the user goes to create the recipes he will execute them with greater respect and sticking to what he learned during the lesson thus maintaining the maximum Italian character of the dish.
Clubhouse, a brand new social network but with great potential: what kind of communication and what initiatives are you implementing on this tool?
I am the administrator of several important clubs (Food & Beverage Magazine Club, Eatalian Cooking, Pizza Club) with 9 rooms a week all dedicated to food and in which we go from time to time to disseminate and enhance the Italian product. For some of these rooms we have managed to create a synergy of instruments with simultaneous direct on Clubhouse (live audio) and Zoom (live video) to teach different cooking practices with particular attention to the techniques for the preparation of fresh pasta and pizza.
Tell us more about your role as ambassador chef of Italian organic and organic companies. What do you do for them? How do you introduce them to the American market?
Unfortunately, being an ambassador of Italian producers is not easy. It is necessary to guide producers and teach them the right methods and distribution channels. The channels of penetration and distribution on the market are different and vary according to the production capacity, the product, and the price. To give an example, if we have to channel products that already have a high basic price, and the production capacity cannot support the requests of large retailers, what I suggest is to direct the offer towards private chefs who use the product at its customers can tell the storytelling of the product thus providing not only a culinary experience with high quality raw materials, but also knowledge and deepening of our tradition. The result is therefore a channeling of the product not only towards the private chef, but also towards the customer who appreciates the flavors, verifies the very high quality and is then interested in purchasing. For products with a lower cost, on the other hand, I suggest distributors specialized in Italian products who have Italian specialty shops as customers who allow the choice of the final customer not to fall on the price, as would happen in large retailers, but on the quality and characteristics of the product. As an ambassador, I personally promote products on social media, organizing online events and conducting webinars organized by the American Private Chefs Association - USPCA and the American Restaurateurs Association. Finally, it is important in the channeling of products to consider that our kitchen is my beloved abroad, but also the most copied and ¨corrupt¨ especially in the American territory so it is a long job and to be built step by step with professionalism, constancy, widespread presence on the territories and massive communication and marketing activities.
Diploma from the Italian Academy of Cuisine and the Maitre Academy of Turin.
Professional experiences at the following restaurants:
• The White Bear - Antwerp, Belgium;
• Da Mimmo - Nivelles, Belgium;
• Italian Villa - Lake Charles, Louisiana;
• Per Bacco - Houston, Texas;
• Grotto - Houston, Texas:
• Il Fattore - Novi Ligure (Alessandria);
• L’Oca Dipinta - Zelo Buon Persico (Lodi) -
Professional experience with Lo Spunzillo catering company.
Personal chef in Florida. Currently Milan.
Chef Consultant for Zwilling-Ballarini a multinational company specialized in the production of
equipment for professional and residential kitchen.
Member of the USPCA - United States Personal Chef Association