Art touches emotions and opens the senses to the infinite, and to the dynamism of change. So it is for the artistic cuisine for peace and sustainability of Chef Sebastian Sartorelli’s sensory journey Push the Button. The meal was part of the roundtable Care for Our Common Home: Building and Communicating an Economy that Promotes Sustainability and Peace, presented at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and promoted by the Vatican Dicastery for Communication in collaboration with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, with Formidable Partners and Sustainable Markets Initiative. Sebastian Sartorelli is the chef at Hosteria Toblino, Trentino, Italy.
Emotions to Generate Change: art for change
The culinary art of Push the Button is part of the project Emotions to Generate Change, a platform for the creation of initiatives and artistic laboratories with a clear vision: art as an emotion-driven motor for personal and social change. We gather a diverse collective of artists who are passionate about interpreting today’s most pressing issues through creativity.
Chef Sebastian Sartorelli’s vision is to enhance the pure ingredient without changing the essence of taste, with an artistic play of colours and designs. Playing with art, tradition and innovation, Sebastian interpreted our themes developing an artistic menu that speaks of peace, interconnection, ecology, and care.
We started with a gesture as simple as it is ancient: the sharing of bread from the centre of the table, dipping it in olive oil. Starting in this way emphasised the importance of collective gestures, as well as the importance of seeing who is close to us and who is sharing the meal with us. It was also a provocative gesture, in a room of people from the worlds of finance and culture, prompting them to use their hands to eat, defying formality and connecting to gestures that are profoundly human.
As a starter, a carne salada tartare with fresh goat cheese and a tomato and raspberry gazpacho, shaped like a button. This button shape stood for a detonator, not in a destructive sense, but as a symbol of re-starting, of taking decisive action to change things.
It goes on immersed in artistic cuisine
The main, a risotto with forest delicacies, had multiple inspirations. Mushroom foraging represents the importance of the interconnection with, and within, the soil. Below the earth, a world thrives that is often seen as separate from us, almost “dirty,” but is actually a complex and delicate balance that allows our very breath, and thus our life. In the risotto, a vegetable “juice” made of carrots, onions, and leek, to give value to what is seasonal and local. A mushroom powder, the shape of a dove. And then, the idea of mushrooms that comes after the rain: the birth of something new and tasty through the generative power of nature, placing together different flavours for a main dish of dialogue, seasonality and interconnection.
And finally, the dessert: a sphere of chocolate to be broken with the spoon. An invitation to break barriers, break the mould, within which we find a garden of berries and hazelnuts. “Breaking” old ways might be scary, and might be considered inefficient. But, once it is done, new things always offer beautiful and tasty challenges.
The exhibition Changes
Accompanying the symposium and meal, in the wonderful setting of the Academy, the photos from the Changes exhibition provided further food for thought. The new Emotions to Generate Change, exhibition, realised with the Dicastery for Communication, expresses the meaning of “change” in two directions: through the visible effects of climate change, and through the desire for change sparked by the emotion generated by the beauty of creation. With shots from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, the Amazon, Florida, Greece, Italy, Iceland, Australia and Turkey, the exhibition, previewed in Rome during the October Synod, is currently at COP28 in Dubai and will travel to other important venues in 2024.
The photographers of Changes are Neşe Arı, Raffaele Merler, Giampaolo Calzà, Vassilis Ikoutas, Asaf Ud Daula, Sebastiano Rossitto, Ferran Paredes Rubio, and Francesca Larrain.