Neolith® teams up with leading Italian cookery school to tackle food intolerances

A recently commissioned scientific study has indicated that the number of people with particular food allergies is on the rise.

From dairy and shellfish to leafy greens and legumes, both professional chefs and home cooks are adapting their approaches to suit this growing audience as they become more aware of particular dietary requirements.

Tiziana Colombo, popularly known as Nonna Paperina, is one of the most recognisable faces in Italian cuisine and has been working in the world of food intolerances for over 30 years. Originally inspired by her daughter’s allergy to milk proteins, she has spent many years researching, adapting and developing recipes to cater to her needs and be equally delicious for the rest of the family.

In 2004, she launched a blog on the subject, which quickly captured the public’s hearts and minds.

Two years ago, buoyed by the positive reception, Colombo decided to embark upon a project to build a cookery school to share her recipes and demonstrate how to create tasty dishes for people with intolerances.

Her idea was to recreate the setting of a domestic kitchen, but with larger dimensions to accommodate demonstrations and cookery courses centred around food intolerance for both professionals and amateurs alike.

Neolith® was integral to the success of the project, having collaborated with Colombo from the outset. The Sintered Stone brand’s involvement and assistance during the planning process proved crucial to delivering her concept and vision.

In excellent taste

For the design concept, Colombo wanted to move away from the look of a traditional Italian home kitchen, creating a modern space characterised by clean lines, neutral colours and the latest fixtures and fittings.

Furthermore, the cookery school environment meant the surfaces would need to be exceptionally hygienic, easy to maintain, resistant to knife-work and tolerant of extreme temperatures.

With so many choices available in the surfacing material market, Colombo found it difficult to choose one for her kitchen. A chance visit to a friend’s house ended her search.

As Colombo explains, “It was very important to create a workspace in which form and function are seamlessly delivered. When I first saw Neolith at an old friend’s house, I was immediately drawn to how fine the detailing of the decoration was. In particular, I loved the brand’s range of marble-effect surfaces, crisp white slabs with vividly dark veining, and knew I had to have it for the school.”

She adds, “It also gave me the impression of cleanliness, which is essential for the kitchen environment. You can clean it with a damp cloth, and it looks as spotless as if it were brand new.”

Colombo specified 20m2 of 12mm Calacatta C01 silk for the demonstration bench, worktops and tables throughout the school’s instructional kitchen, perfectly complementing the white and grey colour palette she had chosen.

One of the main challenges faced during the project was the application of the surface to the large-dimensioned demonstration bench, ensuring a seamless join between the structure’s worktop and side panels.

However, a fabricator, local to the cookery school and an expert on working with Neolith, was able to create fine joins which achieved the desired effects of continuity and flawlessness.

Furthermore, Neolith was specified for the building’s windowsills and doorsteps, creating points of visual interest while showcasing the material’s versatility.

A recipe for collaboration

Social consciousness is at the heart of Neolith’s corporate ethos, so when Italian distributor Domus Marmi informed the brand of the project, they were keen to get involve and assist Colombo throughout the design and build process.

As Neolith director Mar Esteve Cortes comments, “Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly important for businesses across the world, highlighting the need to put back into society. Food intolerances and allergies affect a large proportion of the population across Europe and further afield. Their dietary requirements need to be acknowledged and catered to, meaning we need to educate chefs and cooks to adapt their approaches for this audience.”

She continues, “When we heard about what Tiziana was doing with her school, we were both inspired and keen to help bring her vision to reality. The results speak for themselves. It’s a stylish, spacious and hygienic kitchen in which both instructor and pupil can exercise the maximum amount of culinary creativity.”

Summing up, Colombo says, “Thanks to Neolith, it’s possible to reconcile appearance and essence. It’s a great material to work on and I think it will have a big impact on the professional and domestic cookery scenes over the next few years.”

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