On the banks of the River Brenta lies a company that wants to bring Culture to the Kitchen. And return to cooking according to ancient tradition. Cooking in a natural way while respecting nature.
The driving force behind the initiative is a native of Veneto who, like Marco Polo, has spent many years visiting the Orient: he has learned about its trade, gained travel experience, and tried to take the scents and colours of spices with him.
Mauro Finco is a creator, a thinker, an aesthete, an explorer of worlds that go beyond geographical maps. And he does not stop at appearances.
With meticulous care he carries out his Projects, personally following the details of the realisation of each Product: from the sketches to the models and up to the packaging for placing them on the market. Always with the attention and respect that the Earth environment deserves.
His doing expresses Care.
He has transformed the family business into an experience of combining many different areas of knowledge: the metalworking industry, philosophy, ecology, and the study of raw materials, design, to obtain one of the finest lines of cooking systems currently on the market.
Where does your passion for metals come from?
I am fascinated by man’s ability to use his hands with such skill that he is able to completely transform metal materials: from creating precious and elaborate jewellery to making swords for war and pans for cooking foods.
What is the message you want to convey with Ghisanativa?
I want to celebrate the natural beauty of cast iron. To spread the knowledge of the characteristics of an ancient material that is obtained by combining three primary, native and natural elements – iron, carbon, and silicon – that tell the story of the development of mankind and the birth of Culture, understood as the ability, firstly symbolic and then practical, to understand that it was possible to transform natural raw materials into tools. And that these, in turn, could bring direct transformations to the routines of life.
What use did the Finco foundry want to make of cast iron?
Cast iron – which, compared to iron, is a compound that lasts a long time – stimulated the creation of the Ghisanativa project, i.e. the creation of cookware without synthetic enamels and paints that would have polluted and adulterated the food. In my opinion, the food needs to be in direct contact with iron in order to enhance the Native flavours and aromas.
By the way, in many countries in the East, people do not cook on aluminium or stainless steel as they prefer iron or terracotta.
So you consciously chose not to add artificial materials in your production?
Yes, I did. And I wanted to make it clear right from the start, in the spontaneity of the brand, that – through the knowledge of the past – you could produce a totally natural cooking instrument.
In fact, I take the first materials from Nature – Gaea – or rather from our planet Earth, as it offers them to us. And I do this to guarantee the authenticity, originality, and also exclusivity of the product. To fuse the three elements, I use another natural energy, which is also native: fire. Symbolically, fire purifies, removes impurities, destroys and recreates, continuously transforms.
Ghisanativa produces cooking tools. Are they simply everyday objects?
Not really. It depends on the level of Awareness with which they are used.
By creating Ghisanativa I am committed to spreading the Awareness of history, tradition, knowledge and meanings that are present in everyday objects – in my case, pans, grills and cookers – because by using them we can connect with the mythical, archetypal and cultural dimension they evoke and make present through them. For those who wish to cook in Ghisanativa pans, it means living the experience of something natural, something Native. Tuning into the archetypes of the Greek-Latin-Mediterranean culture, we could say that cooking with Ghisanativa means feeling the vibration of Gaea, the Great Mother; of Hephaestus, the god who transforms and creates with fire; of Demeter and Estia, who nourish and “keep warm”.
To communicate the philosophy behind Ghisanativa, you chose a ‘particular’ photographic campaign.
Relying on the evocative power of the feminine, you went so far as to celebrate the Goddess (Gaea, the Magna Mater) in her native form. Can you explain the steps that led you to the conception of Bare Cast Iron?
Bare Cast Iron, refers to the fact that the cast iron we produce is “without superstructures” (it has no enamels or synthetic paints). Moreover, it comes from the simplicity of the primordial elements (earth, air, water, fire, metal) and it is the Goddess Mother Earth who generated them. In ancient depictions, the Goddess is the feminine principle that contains and transforms. In creating the pots and pans in my collection, I was inspired by this very principle and chose to highlight it through an image, which speaks more eloquently than many words, expressing myself in a straightforward visual language.
Why should you cook with Ghisanativa heat?
Because cast iron has a particular vibratory frequency and the heat generated by it is different from that of modern metals (aluminium and stainless steel). Our blood contains iron and our body, by physical attraction, recognises what is similar to it. Similia similibus curantur.
You told us that you do not use enamels or synthetic paints in the production process of Ghisanativa. What other technology do you use to make iron incorruptible?
Since everything already exists… it was enough to reinterpret – on the metal element – what the Greeks and Etruscans did in ancient times by creating their precious clay pottery (Buccheri).
The cast iron is heated to over 900° in a controlled atmosphere furnace. This produces a layer of magnetite that produces a natural anti-rust effect on the iron.
Afterwards, olive oil is applied manually with a brush to penetrate the pores of the metal and then heated again at 400°C. Thanks to the carbon contained in the oil fat crystallised with magnetite, a hard and compact surface is obtained. This natural method, already in use in the past, avoids the use of synthetic enamels or paints which cover today’s cooking tools. In fact, today many metals are covered with superstructures that are not always good for health. This is why Ghisanativa wants to re-propose… going back to the future… pots and pans in which food in direct contact with iron acquires flavours and scents that awaken an emotion.
Olive oil completes the process of making your Ghisanativa cooking tools. The result is an interesting combination.
Yes, I have chosen to give prominence to the excellence of our territory: olive oil.
The olive tree is sacred to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and the arts, of the ability to discern and realise projects. A “mental” goddess, refined we might say, but at the same time determined and resolute.
Finishing the Ghisanativa production process by smearing the oil of the Goddess on their porous, satin-finished, dark surfaces is a symbolic gesture of recognition of what is sacred: oil and the Divine Feminine to whom it is dedicated.