Georgian College culinary professor Anthony Borgo was one of 27 international chefs from 23 countries competing last week in the Pasta World Championship in Parma, Italy. The chefs prepared and presented a pasta dish of their choice, vying for the top spot with traditional, classic and innovative recipes.
The competition was hosted by Academia Barilla, with a panel of judges evaluating the recipes based on four criteria: 1) respect for the fundamentals of Italian gastronomy; 2) technique; 3) presentation; and 4) taste.
Anthony had just 40 minutes to prepare his dish – Pennette Rigate with Borgonzola, Mushrooms and Peas. His original vegetarian recipe incorporated the best of seasonal food products found in Ontario. For example, Anthony used organic specialty mushrooms from Wylie Mycologicals Ltd., a Wiarton-based facility; peas and herbs from Cookstown Greens, an organic produce grower; and Borgonzola cheese made by Quality Cheese Inc. and distributed by Finica Food Specialties Ltd., a Mississauga-based company that recently earned two Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards.
“Food is intrinsically linked to culture and identity. It’s a means through which we can connect, share and learn. Each ingredient has a story to tell and can capture a piece of who we are as a community and as individuals,” says Anthony. “The dish I prepared truly celebrated Ontario food producers. I wanted to create a recipe that was cultivated regionally – that spoke to the sustainable food production and incredible land stewardship happening right here in our own backyard.”
Luca Torricelli, chef of Ristorante L’Argentino in Lugano, Switzerland, was crowned the winner with his dish Spaghetti Sicily Prawns with Mojito.
Georgian College Associate Dean James Smith says, “We are very proud Anthony had the opportunity to compete at such a prestigious level. He represented Georgian with enthusiasm and passion – creating an outstanding dish that incorporated some of the best of Ontario. Our students are very lucky to have him as a professor and as a mentor.”
Prior to joining Georgian College, Anthony worked in the hospitality industry for 25 years as both an executive chef and an entrepreneur. He gained a wealth of international cooking experience working in Ireland, England, Switzerland, Japan and Canada.
Next year, Georgian plans to hold a national pasta competition, with the winner going on to compete in the worlds. The college also recently signed an exciting partnership agreement with Academia Barilla. Georgian will be one of only three institutions worldwide to deliver level one of a three-part certification program – Fundamentals of Italian Gastronomy – promoting authentic Italian cuisine. Students will broaden and deepen their understanding of food and how it relates to place and culture through a practical, multi-sensory approach.
For more information on the pasta competition, visit www.academiabarilla.com.
For information on Georgian’s culinary program, visit www.georgiancollege.ca.