In Jerusalem's Casa Nova: a Mediterranean Cuisine encounter of flavor and tastes | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

In Jerusalem's Casa Nova: a Mediterranean Cuisine encounter of flavor and tastes


Gaetano Bozzi, Michele Lafronza, Alessandro Selvaggio, Dario Zucaro: these are the students of the "Istituto Alberghiero" (School for Culinary Arts & Hotel Management) ʻA. Perotti’ in Bari. They arrived in the Holy Land and were accompanied by professors Michele Rago and Michele Ciliberti, to live a special professional experience with the staff in service at Jerusalem's Casa Nova Hotel in Jerusalem.
This cooperation idea developed a year ago, during an informal meeting between professors Paolo Ponzio and Corrado Petrocelli, of the University of Bari, who were in pilgrimage. They then suggested to start a "culinary twinning" based on local ingredients and food, prepared with recipes which could be re elaborated following Italian well known imagination.
The idea was realized when young cooks and their professors from Bari came to Jerusalem from the 6th until the 25th of November to share there know how with Arab cooks from Casa Nova, to learn about the local culinary tradition.
It is important to remember that the Custody of the Holy Land granted the students and their professors lodging at the structure of Child Mary and the administration of Casa Nova offered food, excursions, and half of the ticket flight; the school payed the remaining part of the ticket.

This experience key words are collaboration and sharing .
They didn't want to substitute Oriental Cuisine with Italian food or food from Puglia, nevertheless they wanted to play with the two cuisines common ingredients; a perfect mixture that helped create new dishes,created by the Chefs' imagination, with a different formation and back grounds, having though in common the characteristic products from the Mediterranean cuisine.
Who cooks puts a part of himself in the dish, transmitting to who tastes it, the love and the passion dedicated in the dish preparation.
The ongoing numerous pilgrims,also in these days, ate in Casa Nova, trying the dishes cooked by the Arab- Italian/Puglia cooks. Pilgrims felt the passion in the cooking, the ability to knowingly use different ingredients that are combined together, with a sincere, brotherly friendship that started amongst the cooks, the youth in formation and the Casa Nova staff.
The pilgrim's reception by the room staff was very special; concentrated in a pleasant mixture of high professionalism, coupled nicely with a good amount of sympathy.
The young chefs from Puglia have had this experience to work abroad, which is important for their curriculum studioroum, daily living the reality and Oriental culture in Jerusalem including other sites of the Holy Land.
In fact, after work, the students and their professors visited - guided either by the Franciscan friars or the Custody's volunteers - the Holy Sepulcher, the Mount of Olives, the Cenacle, the Museum of the Flagellation , Saint Savior's Convent and other sites close to Bethlehem.
Moments of prayer and reflection in these sites, where our Lord left the testimony of His life, were also present.
Thanks to the good project results, the Istituto Alberghiero Perotti, expressed its desire to continue the collaboration with Casa Nova.
Following this positive experience other collaboration requests , as for example the School for Culinary Arts & Hotel Management ʽE. Mattei’ in Vico of Gargano (FG), will be taken into consideration.
Surely, the Casa Nova staff and the young Italians, will create future and new occasions to prepare dishes with the Mediterranean flavors, inspired by the Jerusalem Palestinian and Italian cuisine.

F. Raffaele Caputo, OFM