“I just cook, that’s all I do,”says the celebrated chef about her work at AIW Association for the Integration of Women. She is currently training four women in professional cooking for the non-profit organization. On top of that, the refugees take courses on labor law, learn how to do a job interview, write a resume and read their pay slip – not to mention learning Italian! “We are training four women at a time, hopefully 16 women at a time next year,”says the young chef with contagious optimism. The city of Modena has provided larger facilities, which the organization is currently renovating.
Female chefs empowering female chefs – a chain reaction that spreads happiness
Jessica Rosval has great hopes for venture. “What we want to do is empower women who will then go on and empower other women,” she says. “Cooks empowering cooks, and it hopefully set off this chain reaction where people help other people primarily to achieve success in their lives and happiness. This is the goal of AIW and we are working on it.”
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Sustainability is essential for Italy’s best female chef
Something else is also very important to Jessica Rosval. “Sustainability belongs to the future,” she states with conviction. “There are no two ways about it.” And restaurants, she says, can contribute in more ways than one might think. Avoiding food waste is very important to her, but there’s more to it: Good working conditions, equality, gender equality, building strong communities and protecting water and soil, these are the possibilities in gastronomy Rosval points out. “By being creative, by keeping our minds open and starting the conversation, all of these different goals can really bring an implementation and a lot of changes into our kitchens,”she says with enthusiasm.
Regional roots make Italian cuisine sustainable
When it comes to Italian cuisine, the Canadian native is bubbling with enthusiasm – and that’s also related to sustainability. “I travelled from Canada to Italy because they have something that is really special. They have centuries and centuries of tradition, they have amazing local products, they have huge respect for the territory, for the animals, and this all just out of tradition. A sustainable approach to cooking that already exists naturally within Italian culture.” She loves that this cuisine varies by region and says the following when asked about the “best” Italian dish: “I think there is not one dish that represents the entire country of Italy because there are so many different culinary identities from the north all the way to the south and that’s the beauty of the Italian cuisine.”
Shaking up Italian traditions with the creativity of Canadian cuisine
But Rosval also doesn’t make any potshots at the cuisine of her country of origin either. She considers it vital in the search for her individual identity and loves the freedom that results from it. “People are able to express themselves in so many different ways as they are going through that creative process,”she says, and this is not always an easy thing to do in traditional Italian cuisine. “Bringing that kind of no barriers cooking mentality that people have in Canada into Italy is really an interesting process.”
Jessica Rosval is bringing ancient fire and high-tech together
It’s all about merging. This top chef is currently working a lot with open flames. However, she still appreciates the advantages of state-of-the-art kitchen technology. She is convinced that digitalization helps to avoid reworking as much as food waste – and she also appreciates cooking technology. “Over the last 20 years I’ve used Rational a lot and they make amazing products,”she says about her experience. “Rational is the perfect example of a modern company that has set its eyes on the future. The recycled material they are using to build the equipment and also their great consideration for reducing energy consumption are great examples,”she lists off. But she also likes playing with the fire. Two incompatible worlds? Not for Jessica Rosval. “Fire is the most antique form of cooking that exists on this planet, but when we take what we know of technology starting with the technology and the approaches and attempts to achieve these results even with fire is very interesting. But the two of them together are what we really need. It’s nature, it’s technology, and it’s creativity and keeping those things in mind that’s what the future is.”