Turin, Italy. The Salone del Gusto is the biggest farmers’ market you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s a 20,000 step day.
Divided by country, one hundred and fifty countries strong. Half a million attendees, every two years. Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food, has always wanted a US Terra Madre.
Because Terra Madre was started in Italy, the country has the largest spatial representation at the event, but you’ll find artisanal sausage from South Africa across from a bean dish from Kenya whose ingredients are close to extinct. The hope here is that in highlighting those beans from Kenya, more people will grow them. And thus the driving philosophy behind the whole affair, Food for Change.
The Salone is chock-full of culinary workshops, summits, speakers, and sit-downs. It's a world-class bazaar.
Whitegate is there because Slow Food thinks we understand the levity of this—the undertaking of this festival. To understand this helps us plan events. We’re also there to get sponsorship dollars.
We sit in on meetings. We explain Slow Food Nation, how impactful it is as well as the caliber of our guests.
We’re looking to recruit sponsorship like Levasso from Torino, a huge sponsor of Terra Madre, since after all, the more sponsorship can be drummed up, the more people can come, and the more we can spread the right message.
Offsite at a beautiful 17th century property called La Stampa, Italian for the newspaper, we host a hundred guests from all over the world, specifically agents of the press—Huffington Post, NYT, Daily Mail, outlets from Australia.
Christa Roberts, executive director of SFN, said can you come and make sure this goes smoothly.
We wanted to make a splash for Slow Food Nation and get an opportunity to explain: why Denver?
Whitegate coordinated and served as the point of contact for many, including guest speaker Alice Waters who we worked with quite a bit in 2017.
Along with Chef Jan Jasinski of Rioja and Adam Branz of Ultreia, we served among other dishes, local porcinis, heirloom bean cassoulet, and basil-compressed watermelon alongside Colorado imports like Jimmy Nardello pepper jam and Palisade peach preserves.
Not only that, we had to go into the kitchen thirty minutes before hand in a blue silk gown to throw on an apron—the waitstaff hadn’t pre-batched the cocktails, and bartended for the first hour.
Make sure it goes smoothly.
Eat less meat so you can eat better meat. The folks of the Meatless Monday campaign wanted to meet with international leaders to get themselves involved.
Whitegate ran them ragged. A workshop, panels, summits. We organized with Italian colleagues, moderators, and culinary providers for both the Meatless Monday campaign and international Slow Food leaders.
It’s different. It’s difficult.
We love it.
This was an incredible opportunity and we'd like to encourage more of the same. Navigating cultural differences between staff, the expectations of international guests, and the strain of working at a distance all drive us to work hard and produce our finest stuff.