The Origins of our Dishes

“Cooks are alchemists and choose to become so because they love transformations, through which they achieve their own fulfilment of their dreams. […] Personally, I consider alchemy to be an analysis of the reality of nature. My attempt to engender it stems from understanding and enhancing it.
I really love transforming and creating dishes that represent me.”
Pietro Leemann

Inventing a dish is not linked to a precise, pre-established process. There is no self-evident method, but rather, there are multiple ways of devising a new dish. Creating a dish presupposes that theory is never disconnected from practice, but rather intertwined through lively engagement. Often, creating a new dish starts from the raw materials to be used, which you need to know very well in order to imagine what you can create with them. Touching a raw material sparks a precise idea and this will make the dish unique, thanks to rigorous research on its content and appearance. Often, the creative process is quite the opposite: you start from a particular thought, intention, memory or emotion and, following that path, you carefully examine and choose the ingredients that best represent and achieve your inspiration.

Art is the activity par excellence that produces symbols that are essential for achieving your creation because they constitute the key to its interpretation. Cuisine is an art and cooking is an artistic practice that creates symbols of reality, human representations of the aesthetic forms of nature. Nature that is welcomed and respected in dishes, which must always let its distinctive essence shine through. Food is a symbol because it is a tangible image that goes beyond the substance we feed on; it carries within it a message, a narrative, an intention of the person who has chosen, processed, transformed and presented it to the guest. The symbols speak to each of us, allowing us to connect with parts of ourselves that we have forgotten. Thoughts and emotions shape our knowledge of the world and build up a kaleidoscope of past experiences, on which we can draw.

Art is not only able to nourish our body, but also our heart, mind and spirit. Symbolic language is often more effective than words. Therefore, we use poetic and symbolic names for our dishes, and their appearance evokes an interior image that is accentuated by their proportions and colours. The flavour conjures up a natural harmony, which is inherent in each one of us, microcosms connected to the macrocosm.
Without unnecessary flights of fancy and eccentricities, the beautiful and the good, when simple and authentic, naturally lead to the balance that determines our deep wellbeing.
Ethics, pleasure and aesthetics must coexist in every dish. Knowledge, the exchanging of views and respect are essential ingredients for achieving this.

Joia’s dishes are created by taking into consideration the multiple aspects represented by food. Nutrition, linked to dietary balance, is an effective tool for adopting a healthy lifestyle. Ethics is the basis for choosing vegetarian and organic food that respects the community, environment and shared agricultural systems. And then there is the moral aspect that directs the individual towards a peaceful and compassionate attitude toward all living beings and the psychological, which nourishes our thoughts, memories and emotions and can ideally determine our happiness. The transcendental aspect implies considering food as a project of transformation, taking shape both on an individual and collective basis. Food has the power and value of stimulating an evolution; its purpose is to keep us healthy, close to our essence. Above all, our dishes are ideas designed to represent these principles. In a nutshell, they explain and nourish all the dimensions of human beings: our body, mind and spirit.