‘Watching how my grandmother prepares pasta alla norma, how she fries eggplants, plucks basil and cooks the tomato sauce – this is one of my most vivid memories.’ When Giancarlo Conoscenti, METRO Academy Chef in Bologna, talks about pasta, one thing is clear: to this Sicilian, pasta is much more than simple sustenance. Pasta is passion. ‘I grew up with pasta, and it will always be part of my life – to us Italians, it’s memory, past and future,’ Conoscenti says with enthusiasm. So it was just as clear to Hilal Ayva, METRO Expert International Offer, that Giancarlo Conoscenti was the perfect choice to help develop a pasta cooker for the METRO Professional product line. Under this own brand, METRO distributes non-food gastronomy products like frying pans, refrigerators and deep fryers – and even pasta cookers. The entire range includes several thousand articles that cover all the main needs of HoReCa customers.
Conoscenti belongs to a group of 7 chefs from Austria, France, Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy who regularly support Ayva and her colleagues’ team in the development of new products. ‘At the end of the day, these are the people who work in the kitchen and who use our products or recommend them to other customers. Their feedback is very valuable to us, because it gives us suggestions that we might never have thought of otherwise,’ explains Ayva, who was responsible for the development of the pasta cooker as project manager. Thanks to his close contacts to fellow HoReCa professionals, Conoscenti is also very familiar with other customers’ needs. He brings this knowledge to the creation of new products: ‘As a METRO Academy Chef in Bologna, I meet a lot of different restaurateurs every day. I share new techniques, recipes and ideas with them and try to understand what machines, ingredients and products they need. My job is to help them grow.’