ON ANOTHER LEVEL Italian culinary legend, Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana talks Michelin stars, the poetry of everyday life, and what it takes to create awe-inspiring food experiences. By Sharmita Summugam.
What we try to do at Osteria Franscescana is subvert our diners’ expectations, sneak up behind their palates, and surprise them with clear, fresh, and true Italian flavours. Our dishes talk about memory, both personal and cultural; we make references to music, film and art. We turn mistakes into triumphs and look for what’s hiding underneath the rocks. But at the end of the day, all of our energy is devoted to making good food, healthy food, and delicious food that not only satisfy the empty belly but stimulate the mind. I love music, art and food; I want to share all of those things with the people around me. That is what we try to do with our restaurant, to invite guests in to see things from another point of view. I have been very lucky to have several culinary idols such as Georges Coigny, Lidia Cristoni, Alain Ducasse and Ferran Adrià. Each of them taught me something valuable; Alain Ducasse taught me the value of using locally sourced ingredients and the importance of establishing trusting relationships with artisans, farmers, fishmongers and so forth. These lessons were learned during my time at Ducasse’s restaurant Le Louis XV, and they helped guide my decision to open Osteria Francescana. My last mentor was Ferran Adrià. During the summer of 2000, I was given the opportunity to cook with his incredible team at elBulli. He pushed me over the edge and taught me not to be afraid of my ideas. Riso Pizza – a risotto that wants to be a pizza and tastes like the best pizza you could ever dream of.
Interior of Osteria Francescana