Maccheroni al pettine
Imagine being sent to Italy, all expenses paid, for the sole purpose of exploring its culinary traditions, eating its foods, and meeting its food producers. Eat Your World recently learned that this exact opportunity is being offered by Australian-based travel gurus World Nomads, in partnership with Can’t Forget Italy, to three lucky applicants: an epicurean “pilgrim,” an aspiring chef/culinarian, and a cultural anthropologist-type. Are you one of them? We talked to World Nomads’ program marketing manager, Alicia Smith, for more details.
World Nomads’ “Passport & Plate: Italy 2014” program sounds incredible. How was the idea born?
World Nomads runs an annual scholarship program that gives aspiring creatives the opportunity take their filmmaking, photography, and writing skills on the road and be mentored by industry professionals.
We know that food is such an integral part of the travel experience, and so many fond (and perhaps sometimes not so fond) memories are strongly tied to new foods tried while travelling. Who doesn’t remember the first time they ate alpaca in Peru (and loved it) or munched a tarantula in Cambodia?
“Passport & Plate” is the love child of these two ideas. We still wanted to create an opportunity to learn from the professionals, but about food and the history and technique behind it. Naturally, there was no better place to launch than Italy, where the passion for and dedication to food is shared by everyone.
Walk us through the application process.
We are looking for mad-keen foodies with adventurous taste buds, a curiosity for all things Italian, and an openness to interact with locals.
To enter, you need to submit a recipe and the story behind it—this could be your Hungarian great-grandmother’s recipe for goulash or the chicken mole recipe you picked up while backpacking in Mexico. It should be a dish that you think will transport other travellers to a new place, simply by making it at home.
You also need to convince our judging panel why you would be the best person for the job with a short essay about yourself.
Parmigiano-Reggiano, drizzled with aceto balsamico, from Parma
What should the winners expect to do in Italy?
Three hungry travellers will be chosen to each spend a week in one region of Italy: Emilia-Romagna, Langhe & Roero (Piedmont), and Cinque Terre National Park (Liguria).
In each destination, you will meet the people behind the products and dishes that Italy is so famous for. These locals will become your mentors as you cook, sip, and taste your way through the region. Your job will be to document all of these experiences through daily blog posts and photos on World Nomads.
Also, you need to be comfortable on camera, as you’ll be sharing your experiences with a filmmaker who will be turning your trip into videos to be shared with the greater travel community.
We loved our time exploring Emilia-Romagna’s foods. Got any tips for applicants?
We’re looking for interesting and different recipes from around the world—we don’t want 50 recipes for paella or pavlova. Your recipe should be easy to follow and not impossible to make. Remember too that the story behind your recipe and the essay about yourself carries just as much weight, so don’t discount those parts of the application.
Go on, make us hungry!
Eat Your World collects food memories from its users as well—short stories related to travel, a favorite meal, growing up, anything. Can you share a brief food memory with us?
I could tell you about the time I discovered congealed blood curry as a vegetarian living in northern Thailand…
However, it was the khai soi that will forever have me salivating at the memory. I was living as a teacher in Chaing Rai, and the Thai teachers would take me with them to a little roadside stand along the highway every Wednesday evening for a steaming bowl of khao soi. This bowl of cooked and crunchy noodles with spicy and sour broth was the ultimate comfort food. As it is a rarity on Thai menus in Australia, I haven’t had it since, sadly. I need to find a great recipe for it (hint, hint–kidding!), so I can try to re-create that food memory at home.
Apply at WorldNomads.com by March 14.