Dorothy Cann Hamilton has quite a career in America’s culinary industry earning important distinctions including the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and ‘Legion d’Honneur’ from the French Government. She pursued undergraduate studies in England traveling frequently to France, served as a volunteer to the Peace Corps in Thailand for three years before returning to the US where she founded the French Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center). Currently as President of the Friends of the USA Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015, Dorothy has the daunting task of presenting American cuisine to the world. We recently had dinner with Dorothy Hamilton at the James Beard American Restaurant at the Seven Stars Galleria in Milan and asked her a few questions.
How did your passion for food begin?
Really just eating…some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth…I was just born with the spoon!
You brought French cuisine to the U.S. and now you are bringing American cuisine to the world, what has been your biggest challenge as President of the Friends of the USA Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015?
The greatest challenge is how to present the universe, the nuance and the deliciousness of American food in a 20-minute experience. We have worked very hard to present to the public displays showing the best and brightest of American thinking on food security, feeding the future and working from grass roots to public policy positions on solving the challenges of feeding the future.
What do you like most about Milan?
I love the city itself. I am a city person (born and bred in New York City.) I love the different building styles. I love the sophistication, the way I see in the Metro how the women are perfectly dressed and coiffed. The museums, La Scala, the restaurants, the markets. I could go on…and on..
What is your favorite Italian dish?
The USA Pavilion and the James Beard Restaurant in downtown Milan are two must-sees for any visitor in Milan, is there anything in particular that you would like to point out to our readers?
Yes. Firstly, when you visit the Pavilion make sure you spend a minute or two with one of our Student Ambassadors. We have 120 student ambassadors from over 90 universities, speaking 27 different languages from Chinese to Swahili. They can give you an overview of our Pavilion, find your particular interests and direct you to those exhibits. Also you must visit our roof terrace, where we have a great bar, interesting talks and amazing views. Don’t forget to grab a lobster roll or hamburger at Food Truck Nation which is located directly behind our Pavilion.
And the JBF Restaurant is located in the heavens of the Galleria with an unparalleled view. In addition we are showcasing the best chefs in the USA who are cooking up our authentic modern American cuisine.
Once the World’s Fair is concluded, what would you like people to remember from the USA Pavilion?
I would love for people to understand that America is a true world partner in finding solutions to feeding the future sustainably and responsibly!
What would be the legacy of the USA Pavilion?
That our Pavilion was a great example of American architecture, our content was inspiring and thought provoking and our unique student docents put a human face on our EXPO story. And of course, that American food is delicious!
What do you think of J4Milan the American Festival and all the excitement built around American culture in Italy?
I love the fact that a great national holiday such as July 4th could be shared with the city of Milan. I think the great waves of Italian immigration to the States has bonded our two countries in many important cultural ways. Our national foods seem to be the same: pizza and pasta! I smile uncontrollably when I see a packet of the Italian chewing gum, Brooklyn. I love that basketball is one of the biggest sports in Italy. Actually I would be surprised if we didn’t celebrate the 4th of July in Milan in a big way!