From the zdàura to Aurora Mazzucchelli: the female evolution in the kitchen

  • Tortellino making by @kikifollettosa via flickr in CC

If we think of the tortellini, closing our eyes, we imagine immediately ourselves around a long wooden table, covered in flour and dough yellow, tinkering between trays and bowls of aromatic stuffing while in the background stand grandmothers, or rather, the "zdàure" to call them by their name in Bologna's dialect.

They are the mothers of Tradition. Those women which in the popular imagination are a bit 'elderly and bring years of knowledge on both face and hands, the same with which they cleverly intertwine squares of dough, creating unique caskets of taste and those who spend most of their time looking into a pot of ragù.

To these women we owe the reputation of cooking today, the traditions of home cooking, the good one we all have nostalgia of, that tastes of memories and home. The cuisine has evolved over the years, however, and so the mystical figure of the "sfoglina" [the popular name for woman's pasta-making handicraft ] has shifted on a level of international sophistication and more. With the signature cuisine, "starry" , peppered with accolades and culinary experiments moving more and more towards new horizons of taste and education to the discovery of different flavors, peer reviewed, refined, the focus has shifted also on the creator of the mystical food "signed by". From the sfoglina figure the chef has made ​​an evolutionary transition from the kitchen, thanks to media attention that has put the spotlight mostly on men, leaving in the shadow female cooks, who became almost mythological figures. Well, now resurrects the feminine side of gastronomy and it starts to regain the respect and notoriety that always has deserved, with women in control behind a hot stove.

The feminine touch in the kitchen can be seen from small gestures, attention to details, which is not only about the aesthetics but concerning the propensity to love and care that come from far away, from the affectionate sense that mothers have always put into preparing the meal for the children and, even before, the woman of the house who brings to the table his affection for his family, because cooking was once a party, in addition to survival, the traditions are still alive in order to keep the joy of food the convivial pleasure of being together seasoned with flavour. And now they are transformed, evolved to the palates, to revive those values ​​by extending the family boundary.

The "auteur kitchen" in Bologna has the name of Aurora Mazzucchelli and brings to the table a femininity different from the stereotypes of the housewife, perhaps representing a perfect blend of care, typically belonging to women, and leadership skills alongside with determination commonly recognized in men.

Born in 1973, Aurora comes from a family that has always been devoted to food: Dad was a cook and Mom's a "sfoglina".
With the experience learned and passed on within the house's walls, in the year 2000 Aurora takes the reins of the restaurant with his brother and in a few years has transformed the Marconi restaurant by local tradition as a symbol of contemporary cuisine (with a Michelin star and an award for best chef in 2012)
She played the trump card with unusual combinations that rejuvenate dishes and recipes of the memory. The meeting on the palate between the past and the present seems to be the vocation of the new generations of women in the kitchen. On one hand, the echo of the zdàura calling to roll the dough, and on the other the inspiration and creativity of the young mind, formed with pygmalions of national and international cuisine.
The chef Aurora Mazzucchelli is the symbol on the bolognese ground of rebirth of the female figure in the world of "haute cuisine", which for too long was a male realm, besides a timeless blend of ancient and modern knowledge, she's a reincarnation of the tradition-change, competitive and complete.
Other chefs in the region, but also on the national field, carry on the icon of a new cook, combining the best aspects of old-style teachings with innovation and elegance  required by haute-cuisine, balancing the interplay between old and new, with a passion for food as anchor.

Among the big names that are proudly waving the gastronomic flag of EmiliaRomagna in the world, we begin to see female faces and maybe, hopefully, the future of the kitchen is female ;)


Beatrice Belletti
Beatrice Belletti

Words and art lover, in all its shapes, addicted to travel, sport and shoes, i'm constantly seeking beauty and emotion

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