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Sanjay Kumar (www.sanjayskitchen.co.uk) Visiting Terra Madre 2010 as an Ambassador Chef and a Convivum leader was dreams come true. It was a life changing experience for me where food was the focal point of every real conversation. Discovering new taste experiences, and rehearsing upon the old ones, were topped up with intelligent conversations and a wide variety of thought provoking debates. My gastro touristic days in Turin began early with a power breakfast of freshly squeezed juices and hand carved charcuterie. The restaurant nestled in the foothills of the Alps served an ideal backdrop for such an adventure. A bus ride galloping past vineyards and olive groves, drew us into the innards of Turin much in the same way as proud Fiat car mechanics would arrive into town for their day jobs a couple of decades ago. A quick alignment of the days schedule would land me into one of the symposiums that stirred up the much required food for thought. It is said that, “There is comprehension for those who seek”, and the multilingual head seats, served exactly the purpose. Be it the subject of dying languages, to food sovereignty, from land grabbing to GMOs, from fishing quotas to who is rich and who is not: there was a topic for everyone to get stimulated by. For those who wanted to have a real taste sensation, the spread was worldly and varied. You could be sitting in a room tasting wines of a certain region or enjoying a plate of spreadable salami, or marvelling the ingenious manifestations of milk that turned into the fantastic out of the world cheeses. For the not so faint hearted, there always was the new world food and culture experience that enriched every part of the palette equally.
Lunch was served in a worldly communal trattoria which brought about the amalgamation of tastes, friendships and ideas. There was hardly any moment in the whole day that was not filled with sounds of the world, tastes of the world, costumes of the world or dialects of the world. Sharing food experiences with people from different parts of the world, accentuated the fact that no matter what you spell the word “Food”, as it is vital for existence and inexistence of the humankind. A few rare occasions would be spent listening to great minds of the likes of Chef Alice Waters, or Vandana Shiva which would act as a booster shot to the purpose of becoming a Global citizen. The spirit of the Youth food movement was specially a force to reckon, and with unique ideas as “eat ins” there was a great bank of energy to develop and sow the seeds of future upon. A complete day of discovery would end with another bus ride back to the hearts of mountains, recapturing and reminiscing some of the highlights of the day. Many a significant conversation would be stirred over generously freshly grated mounds of parmesan cheese, some unregistered glasses of Italian Vino Nuevo and grateful gratifications of the humble visions of Carlo Petrini (Good, Clean and Fair) that got us thus far at the first place.