No one's ever been hungry at a world's fair: nations have used these gatherings to showcase their cuisines on an international stage, while ice cream cones, waffles, popcorn, and other formerly unknown foods were popularized by enterprising fair vendors.
At Expo Milano 2015, the latest fair, which opened in Milan this month and will continue through October, guests won't just find food at the refreshment stands. Expo Milano is the first fair that's exclusively about food: its theme is “Feeding the Planet; Energy for Life," and participants have been charged with presenting possible solutions for feeding the spiking global population. Visitors to countries' pavilions can attend food-focused lectures, explore interactive exhibits about agriculture and cooking, and admire state-of-art, food-inspired design, such as the JBF-produced USA Pavilion's vertical farm, which is planted with more than 42 different varieties of vegetables, grains, and herbs.
That's not to say that there won't be plenty eating to do. In addition to sampling from a veritable global buffet at the pavilions, food lovers traveling to Milan can also get a taste of American cuisine prepared by award-winning chefs, thanks to the USA Pavilion-affiliated James Beard American Restaurant.
Located in the heart of Milan, atop the landmark Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a popular gathering dining spot for Milanese and one of the world's oldest shopping malls, the James Beard American Restaurant at Seven Stars Galleria hotel will showcase chefs, products, ingredients, beverages, and other American gastronomic delights throughout Expo Milano's six-month run. Modeled after the James Beard House in New York City, the restaurant has already hosted newly minted Best Chef: NYC winner Mark Ladner. Celebrated Portland chef and JBF Award winner Cathy Whims will be in the kitchen tonight and tomorrow night, while Barbara Lynch, Paul Bartolotta, Mary Sue Milliken, and Daniel Humm will cook at separate events later this month. Each visiting chef will prepare an exclusive five-course, regional, prix-fixe menu.
The James Beard Foundation and the International Culinary Center have led the production of USA Pavilion, themed "American Food 2.0," at Expo Milano. The global gathering launched May 1 and will remain open through October. See all upcoming USA Pavilion programming here.
View our complete archive of Expo Milano coverage.
For more information about USA Pavilion, visit USAPavilion2015.net and follow the project on Twitter and Instagram. To learn more about Expo Milan, visit expo2015.org/en and follow the fair on Twitter and Instagram.