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Taking the best of the South West to Italy The Italian Gourmet Job has begun!

Taking the best of the South West to Italy   The Italian Gourmet Job has begun!

Written: 22 October 2014

Michael Caines, the 2-star Michelin chef, is following in the footsteps of cockney Hollywood star and near namesake Michael Caine as he heads to Turin, Italy behind the wheel of a Mini. In the cult 1969 British caper film “The Italian Job”, Caine’s character Charlie Croker sets out to Italy in a Mini Cooper to ‘do a big job’, a heist of some 4 million dollars of chinese gold. Michael Caines, by contrast, is driving his Mini to Italy by way of Burgundy in search of wonderful things to eat and drink. His destination is the biannual Salone del Gusto, the world’s largest artisan food festival, an event organised and run by the international Slow Food movement. Accompanying Caines will be his fellow directors of the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink, an annual artisan food festival in Caines’ hometown that serves to showcase the excellence of food and drink from Devon and the South West.

Says Caines, “The only thing in Italy that we will be stealing will be some good ideas on how we can improve our own Exeter Festival. While we are all about celebrating the excellence of South West food and drink, we have always had a strong international element and have made many Italian friends — chefs and producers alike — who have come out each year to Exeter to join in the fun. Italy has such great food and wine traditions, so we are going out to learn, to taste, and also to spread the word about the excellence of food and drink from Devon and the South West.”

There will be three Minis making the road trip to Turin, including Michael’s, each painted red, white or green, the colours of the Italian flag. Accompanying Caines will be Festival board members David Kirk, Robert Camp, and Richard Marsh, as well as Michael and James Dart of Darts Farm Food Shop. Food, wine and travel writer Marc Millon will also be hitting the gourmet road with the gallivanting board members, adding his expertise along the way. The cars will be sponsored, and there will be an auction on the return to Exeter, with all funds raised going to support the Festival’s local charities.

“I am very excited to be visiting the Salone del Gusto,” adds Caines. “Slow Food is an inspirational global movement that has helped to highlight the need to safeguard local and regional foods. I share these same values, above all, Carlo Petrini’s belief in food as a source of good in the world, and the simple pleasure that comes from enjoying real food around the table with family and friends.”