We just attended the Specialty Food Exhibition in Dubai, where we had chance to meet Walter Potenza, who kindly gave us some time for a short interview.
Italian cuisine is not only one of the most appreciated in the world, but also one of the most genuine, especially in its tradition.
Walter Potenza has been living and working in the States for over 40 years, has used our know-how, which has been passed down from generation to another , to help those who have not been lucky enough to have an Italian grandmother.
His restaurant located in Previdence, Rhode Island, is always full of people.
“My customers highly appreciate the historical research which I make about each dish. I am very passionate about this topic that I pursue everything in order to demonstrate the real Italian cuisine in the States. It was frustrating for me to see Italian restaurants having hybrid menu, namely dishes which had nothing to do with Italian ones but just only a memory”
In 1995 Walter decided to introduce his expertise in nutritional knowledge by opening the Chef Walters Cooking School.
It is not only a cooking school, because Walter teaches how to prepare real Italian food and also how to give genuine and correct nutrition and live in a healthy style.
The school offers different professional training courses for bar tenders and chefs, as well as tastings of wine, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
Moreover, the school organizes different free courses to students and families, aimed at teaching nutritional education.
Walter says “American schools lack nutritional education. Therefore, through special agreements with grammar and high schools, I organize lessons for free directed to students to teach them the healthy nutrition and how to prevent diseases such as diabetes”.
“I have created a course, called Diabesity, which offers free lessons on Italian cuisine addressed to families with limited financial resources to help them combat obesity and diabetes, through the knowledge of food and cooking science. In particular, families learn how to select the cooking method and food that reduce increase in blood glucose”.
“I offer free lessons because I believe that it is very important to inform people about this topic that is particularly close to me since I am also affected from diabetes”.
According to the World Health Organization, the number of people affected by diabetes in the globe has passed from 108 million of 1980 to over 415 million in 2015. Therefore, it is evident how it is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle that prevents and control this disease.
I am implementing my project also outside U.S.A. thanks to the contacts with all the chefs in the world with whom I aim at creating an international team to pass on and my teaching and disseminate.
“Diabetes is also considerably increasing in the Arab countries. I started to implement my project abroad in the United Arab Emirates three years ago.
I offer lessons to students in Abu Dhabi aged between 10 -18 years and I have an assistant along with me. We also organize three visits to the fish and vegetable markets.
“The idea is to include new ingredients in the diet such as healthy local vegetables, alternative flours, and dried fruit such as walnut, dates, and almonds. The students are taught not to consume high sugar snacks produced by the food industry, GMO products and other unhealthy products.”