Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th April 2014

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Massimo Bottura, chef patron of the Osteria Francescana is this month's featured chef. Massimo Bottura's recipes are legendary and his restaurant has been listed in the top 5 of the World's Best 50 Restaurants since 2010. It is our pleasure to speak to him. Growing up, Massimo Bottura could always be found under the kitchen table, which became a refuge from his three older brothers. He found peace at his grandmother’s feet as she rolled out the dough for tortellini. Among the smells of broth and roast meats, the young Bottura was silenced by the constant chatting of his grandmother, mother and aunt who prepared meals for the entire family, every lunch and dinner. In 1986 Massimo Bottura departed on his life’s journey with the renovation of a roadside trattoria on the outskirts of Modena. At Trattoria del Campazzo he worked alongside the rezdora Lidia Cristoni and apprenticed himself to chef Georges Coigny to build his culinary foundation, a combination of regional Italian cooking and classical French training. In 1994 Bottura gained valuable experience working with Alain Ducasse at Louis XV in Montecarlo who had invited him to stage in his kitchen following a surprise visit to the trattoria. During this time he had daily contact with Ducasse’s producers, artisans and experienced chefs. Through their eyes he learned the difference between the ‘fresh, fresher and the freshest’ of ingredients. A year later, in 1995, Bottura opened Osteria Francescana juxtaposing tradition and innovation with contemporary art and design in Modena’s Medieval city centre. In the beginning it seemed difficult just paying the bills, dishwasher and waiter, yet Massimo’s desire to satisfy the gastronomic curiosities of his guests, whose palates had matured alongside his own, motivated him to excel as both a chef and restaurateur. During a summer at El Bulli in 2000, Ferran Adrià encouraged Bottura to continue pushing the envelope. With Adrià, Massimo's whole vision of contemporary cuisine was cracked open. Adrià's deconstructions taught Massimo that he could bring conceptual premises into the kitchen. This was the greatest lesson he learned from Adria - to keep possibilities open and to widen one's concept of 'cooking' 16 years after the opening of Osteria Francescana, Massimo Bottura received the “Grand Prix de l’Art” from the International Culinary Academy in Paris. He was later decorated with a medal of honour for his contribution to Culture and the Arts by the city of Modena. Later in 2011, Massimo achieved a life long ambition when Osteria Francescana was awarded its third star by The Michelin Guide. Osteria Francescana achieved near perfection with the highest vote ever recorded -19.75 out of 20 - in the l’Espresso dining guide. Osteria Francescana is a member of Le Soste and Les Grandes Tables du Monde. “Chef’s Choice” at the 2011 World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in London, Bottura is highly revered by colleagues and critics alike for his vanguard approach to Italian cuisine. The restaurant currently holds 3rd place in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and has been voted the best restaurant in Italy for five consecutive years. In 2012, US website Daily Meal declared Massimo Bottura to be their “International Chef of the Year”. Photography by kind permission of Per- Anders Jorgensen

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th April 2014

Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy

IN ASSOCIATION WITH