How to recognise a master? Which prophets are to be listened to?

Illustration by Domenico Neziti
Illustration by Domenico Neziti

“Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever?” – This is a Bible quote (by Zechariah), the title of Dave Eggers’ latest novel, and also the inspirational subject of Dispensa’s cur- rent issue, a paper hymn to Fathers, Masters and Prophets.

Chef Alfonso Iaccarino. Photo: Stefano Scata'
Chef Alfonso Iaccarino. Photo: Stefano Scata’

How to recognise a master? Which prophets are to be listened to? And which fathers do deserve disobedience? But above all things: once we have spotted them in the crowd, what shall we ask them? Something blissful hides in those life encounters when people don’t just brush past each other, each one marching in his own way, but instead walk a piece of path together. As thoughts are exchanged, new courses of action take shape and we suddenly come to a special, deeper understanding of things thanks to someone able to awake our eyes, our mind, our hands into motion. These are the Fathers, Masters and Prophets we once chose for ourselves; these are the stories becoming history, the causes we arise from as effects, and all the kept promises. These are men and women, talents, places where traditions are taught and handed down, and the picture of future is sketched out.

Photo: Robert Harrison
Photo: Robert Harrison

By wandering among grandmas, natives, illustrious chefs, young students, hash houses, dreamers, craftsmen, artists and super heroes, we have tried to get to know the Fathers, Masters and Prophets of the culinary world. We pushed them out from basically anywhere: all the way from Naples to India, from Manila to Kyoto, from the last century to decades to come, in some Milanese hash house or rather sitting at Le Meurice in rue de Rivoli, from the homey kitchen of a granny to the professional classrooms of a suburban catering institute. We wanted to understand how we got where we are today. From now on, the path is still far from completed, and you, you only, will have to pick the ones to share it with for a while. Please, always keep your million-dollar questions safe in your pocket, for you might bump into those Fathers, Masters and Prophets right in the most unlikely places.

“What do I know of man’s destiny? I could tell you more about radishes.” (Samuel Beckett)

Martina Liverani, Editor of Dispensa.

Buy Dispensa 5 here.

Photo on the cover: Marco Varoli
Photo on the cover: Marco Varoli

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