Person of the month: Valeria Orani
If you meet her, she will give you a good vibe right away. It doesn't matter which is your personality. Like only the springtime can do with everybody. Full of energies and ideas, Valeria Orani is the kind of person that sees every new connection as a new possibility of creating something. She worked all her life in the theater as an organizer. She was born in Sardinia, she lived many years in Rome, but she traveled everywhere because of the tours. She arrived in New York City seven years ago. And today, she will be with us to talk about the connection between food and art, food and theater. And also, about her personal taste!
Why did you decide to live in New York?
I chose New York because I wanted to experiment with new strategies to promote contemporary Italian culture.
Food and theater, how would you describe them together?
They both nourish, and they are both arts. People need food to live, but they also need Beauty! When food becomes art, it brings beauty in your life, like the other arts do. I have been working for many years for continuous contamination in the artistic field in my personal experience.
This is why I have combined culinary art with theater several times. I started in 2000 by producing a beautiful show called "Confectioners": a reinterpretation of Cyrano where two brothers, during a night in their pastry shop, prepare eight cakes between poetic verses and music. At the end of the show, the audience ate the cakes and what happened was magical because food brings people together, takes out any inhibits, helps to connect.
Later I also had many other experiences that brought together theater and food. Even here in New York I got a wonderful project made by the performer/violinist Adele Madau: a sensorial dinner that traced an itinerary of memories and stories related to the land where I am born, Sardinia.
Can you describe your favorite dish?
I like to eat. When we talk about food, I am really curious; I am greedy. If I have to think of a dish, many come to my mind. However, it would undoubtedly be an Italian dish.
You are a professional and a very busy mom. How did your cooking habits change when you arrived in the United States?
I try to eat healthily, and when you don't have much time, it's challenging. But still, I prefer to cook at home, and I am also very methodical; but
what had undoubtedly changed compared to when I lived in Italy is that today I can have food from so many different culinary traditions. I really like Korean, Mexican, Brazilian cuisine. You have these restaurants in Italy, of course, but it is still solid to eat Italian in our country. During all the years I lived in Rome, it was not easy, like it is here, to go
regularly from Indian to Chinese or Japanese cuisine.
What do you think is an Italian dish that Americans should know more about?
The risotto. It is a simple dish that you can make in two thousand different ways, with a few tricks.
When you think of Italy, what are the first flavors you miss?
One flavor that I really miss is that of goat or sheep ricotta cheese.
- Donatella Mulvoni