Duomo di Milano

NY-MI: one way (pt.1)

📝 Francesca Gorza

A new interview keeps us company as autumn begins.

I had the pleasure of having a chat with Jaclyn Degiorgio , a very bubbly New Yorker who has now lived in Milan for 10 years.
Talking to her was like turning on new lights and observing the complex world of food and catering from unusual angles.

I have divided this river interview into two parts to leave room for all the interesting considerations made by Jaclyn.

Editor's note : the interview was translated from English: english version here.
All photos in the interview were kindly provided by Jaclyn or taken from her Instagram profile ( @jaclyndegiorgio )

Jaclyn DeGiorgio

Jaclyn DeGiorgio

- As tradition dictates, let's start with your presentation. Who are you and what do you do?
<<New Yorker by birth and Milanese by adoption. I write on my blog ( A

Jaclyn food tour
Signorina in Milan ) about food, wine and travel and I am the host of the podcast The Milanophiles. I also offer food and wine tours in Milan for foreigners traveling here. I like to say that I am the proudest supporter of my adopted city : it is difficult to meet someone more passionate than me! I think Milan is an Italian city that holds so many secrets and I would like everyone to love it as much as I do. To book a food tour of Milan with me, there is the food tours section of my blog.>>

- Is there anything that the culinary scene of Milan and New York has in common? What are the trends or peculiarities that characterize and differentiate them?
<<I think there are more similarities than you might think. They are both international cities and Fashion Week cities, but it doesn't end there. Residents of both lead busy lives and walk fast. They are both hard-working and busy cities; residents are curious and open-minded.

New York

However, everything in New York is always done on a grander scale , sometimes too grand. Milan is known for fashion and design, but its food scene remains overlooked and underrated. When it comes to international cuisine, New York is definitely in the lead, but Milan is home to absolutely excellent international restaurants.

I think Milan 's "problem" is that it is overshadowed by Italy . People generally say they will go to Paris, London or New York, and everyone more or less knows what to expect from each city. If someone recommended you try a Lebanese, Thai, and Indian restaurant in one of those cities, you would seriously consider it. If someone recommended a Chinese or Japanese restaurant in Milan, you would probably say: “Why should I go there? I am in Italy. It's the wrong place for that kitchen." And they would be wrong to do so, but that's a whole other story.>>

International cuisine << An international restaurant does not fit the preconceived thoughts that most people have about Italy, so people reject the idea a priori. Travelers need to change their approach and think of Milan as Milan (not Italy) the same way they think of New York as New York (not the United States), Paris as Paris (not France), or London as London (not to England). .

At a national level, everyone knows that Milan is the city where important things happen . Here there are star chefs from all over Italy, such as Niko Romito and Norbert Niederkofler. But globally, I think Milan deserves more attention. If it receives the attention it deserves, I also think it could stimulate the curiosity of chefs from all over Europe and even the world to think about wanting to be personally present on the Milanese scene. Innovation abounds and the food and drinks I try become more interesting every day.>>

- In your opinion, is cuisine: fashion, tradition or culture?
<<Excellent question! It's difficult to answer.

Although the cuisine encompasses all three, I believe it is rooted in tradition. But trends and culture definitely have an impact. Culinary traditions shape the contemporary and historical culture of any city or destination. A trend in the kitchen might be the idea of ​​making a traditional, old-school recipe contemporary. For example, look at Lake Como perch rice. This simple dish dates back centuries and represents the culinary tradition of the lake. Today you can find it in its purest form or interpreted in a revisited way in the restaurants around the lake. The basic elements of the recipe can serve as the basis for more playful or elaborate riffs, such as arancini, a complete risotto (perhaps with a little bitto?), and even deconstructed as a perch fillet with a little rice and other ornaments.
There is also an overlap between culture and trends . Is it “trendy” for chefs to add a little oomph to dishes rooted in Cucina Povera? It may be, but trends can help shape food culture . So, I guess they are all leaves on the same tree! But I will say that I think trends are fleeting, tradition is constant, and culture is constantly evolving. >>

- For you, what are the elements that transform a meal away from home into an experience?
<<The quality of the food and drinks definitely affects it, but I think people make the experience . There's nothing worse than a great meal in terrible company! But I don't just mean diners, because we often eat alone. This extends to staff as well. If you go to a restaurant with excellent food, but the service is terrible and the staff is not hospitable, you will never return. But you might go back to a restaurant, where maybe the food was ok, not sensational, because you liked the staff.
Milan - Brera Hospitality is very important, especially in places where you are regular. It's nice when the staff remembers you, remembers your order and your interests so that you can feel welcomed and at home. There are so many restaurants to choose from - the best employees know this and are sincerely grateful to guests for choosing their establishment. This factor warms the atmosphere and adds a magical touch, helping to make the experience unforgettable.
I would like to add that Europe, and Italy in particular, have a bad reputation for detached service. However, I think several places in this country do a great job on the hospitality/service front making you feel at home. I notice it a lot in Milan; Countless restaurants understand how vital the service element is. It also happens in casual restaurants. Many chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers and waiters have worked abroad and/or for some of the best Italian restaurants. Perhaps those experiences helped shape their approach to hospitality. But it doesn't just happen in Milan. Feel in Como, Materia in Cernobbio and Marcopolo 1960 in Ventimiglia come to mind... these are just some of the places that offer a service as memorable as the food.>>

End of part one!

Pause for reflection! We have put a lot of very interesting topics on the table that refer to the world of catering, but can actually be applied to any professional field.
Just to name a couple I would highlight: attention to the customer and keeping up with the times without losing sight of one's roots and values.

The reading continues with Part 2 .

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1 comment

Che articolo interessante! Effettivamente il punto di vista è a 360 gradi e non di parte. Sono curiosa e aspetto la seconda parte dell’ intervista che sicuramente sarà altrettanto completa e…. frizzante!!!

Maria Beatrice

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