The "founding father" of the Accademia
Orio Vergani launched the outcry "Italian cuisine is dying!", having perceived the risk at which the civilisation of the Italian table stood, in a climate where traditional values were being greatly affected by rapid change, as was the case in the 1950s. The civilisation which had (and, fortunately, still has to some extent) its foundation in family conviviality, in the respect for traditions, in the safeguarding of gastronomical custom, in the knowledge of history, and in the serene and objective evaluation of times that change, without denying nor idealising the past.
Who was Orio Vergani. He was a curious person. Curious of everything. He possessed the curiosity, vice and virtue characteristic of journalists, who love first to know and then to go deeper, that is to analyse, dissect, understand. When, in 1953, Vergani thought of an Accademia della Cucina, he was probably spurred on by his gastronomical experiences and memories, acquired during his job as special envoy in the Italian streets and realities.
His philosophy. Said Vergani: "If work forces me to skip lunch, I'll skip it. But when I sit down at table, open and disposed to the restorative joy of the table, I want no "fakes" and even less "rubbish"!". The creation of the Accademia is due to the clarity of his principles: truly one of his most fruitful gifts. From the very beginning he had understood that with the Accademia an organism of study and research came to life, and together with it a practical instrument of action, essential element of an ordered tourism politic and a means of elevating and conserving the civility of Italian gastronomical life. And thus, the two essential principles - the cultural and the educational one - of the Accademia consist exactly in the defence of our gastronomical traditions and typical dishes, in the respect for the most genuine recipes, and in safeguarding the highly difficult art of manipulating them without distorting their characteristics.