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.

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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.

Mas­simo Bot­tura

In­te­rior of Os­te­ria Frances­cana

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