The Art of Pasta: Barilla Pasta World Championship 2019

In October, I had the chance to embark on a trip of a lifetime to Paris, France with Barilla Canada for the 8th edition of the Pasta World Championship. This year, 14 amazing chefs from all over the world (and, all under 33 years old!), took on an exciting three-round challenge: the Masterpiece, the White Canvas and the Grand Finale, over two days.

The theme this year at Barilla’s Pasta World Championship was The Art of Pasta. As well, this was the first year that the Championship was held outside of Milan, Italy. Located at the iconic Pavillion Cambon Capucines; I believe that this year the Championship truly embodied the meaning of The Art of Pasta; being that each piece of pasta is a small piece of design that combines beauty and taste.

Prior to this trip, I always viewed pasta as one of my favourite dishes to eat and cook with at home. However, after this unbelievable trip and seeing how the Parisian culture and theme influenced the 14 young chefs, my perspective on pasta has changed for the better. During the competition, it was amazing to witness first-hand how chefs from all around the world reinterpreted, transformed and continually revolutionized pasta through simple ingredients, techniques and plating. The jury consisted of Davide Oldani (chef), Amandine Chaignot (chef), Simone Zanoni (chef), Paola Navone (designer) and Ashley Alexander (food photographer + content creator). It was remarkable to see how the jury came together to carefully judge each dish and ensure that it embodied The Art of Pasta through design and taste.

Canadian chef, Kshitiz Sethi from Paese Ristorante in Toronto made Canada proud! His signature dish, Pasta Sarde Mosaico and his White Canvas Dish, Vegan Bolognese made with chickpeas, are what earned Kshitiz’s spot in the last round. Kshitiz took all of the feedback from the jury in the first round, most notably from Oldani who explained that his portion size was too large and needed less sauce. With ease, Sethi made a comeback and we were all so proud.

It was truly incredible to see how Barilla turned the modern art gallery of the Pavillion Cambon into an exclusive open kitchen for foodies, artists and performers. Not only did this positively impact the canvas for the Championship, but it also allowed for France’s rich culture of gastronomy and art to come alive through each dish. All 14 chefs thoughtfully created their own masterpieces by combining beauty and taste. This was something that I was able to observe in each round, as I saw how each competitor took significant time to plate each single strand of Barilla pasta. It was astonishing.

During the final night of the competition, one of the Barilla brothers explained that when his grandfather opened his store more than 140 years ago, his priority was to make good food, and this has become Barilla’s way of business. This was prevalent at the 8th edition of the Pasta World Championship, as I was able to see how Barilla has transformed pasta to be the ultimate summa: something simple and essential that encapsulates the vision and personal style of the person cooking. Thank you, Barilla Canada, for allowing me to see how gastronomy, lifestyle and art came together to reveal the true Art of Pasta.

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