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In this part we discuss the growing acclaim of Osteria Francescana
In our series "At the Chef's Table," we take a look at the careers of some of the greatest chefs in the business. In this month’s installment we are profiling Massimo Bottura, the Modena, Italy-based chef whose restaurant Osteria Francescana has gained international acclaim — including the title of fifth best restaurant in the world on San Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants list. On top of that, The Daily Meal named Bottura its International Chef of the Year for 2012. We sat down with the chef in New York at Eataly's Birreria.
In part four of our series we discuss Osteria Francescana as well as an influential stage at elBulli. He says that while he already had his restaurant open, "I went there to understand, you know? To see something that I was just reading [about]. Just to free the mind of people to express themselves. Because a blue lobster or a caviar has the same value as a Parmigiano-Reggiano crust or a potato. So this is such an important thing. Then I came back and I started conceptualizing all the teaching... And I start creating all these dishes like a compression of pasta and beans where I compress my gastronomic life."
For more from Bottura, including how he reacts to all of Osteria Francescana's acclaim, watch part four above! You can also catch parts one, two, and three if you missed them. Look out for our final part of the series next Monday!
Massimo and Magnus serve up secrets in new show
Not too long ago, the route to gastronomic greatness was lined with white linen table clothes and stacks of classic haute cuisine cookbooks. Today, however, the world’s most innovative chefs are more likely to be foraging in the Amazonian rainforest for new ingredients, or hanging out in contemporary art galleries to gain inspiration.
Anyone keener on René Redzepi than Auguste Escoffier should watch Chef’s Table, a new Netflix TV series due out later this month. The show, overseen by David Gelb, director of acclaimed Japanese culinary documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, goes inside the lives and kitchens of six of the world’s most renowned international chefs.
Naturally, there are some Phaidon authors among them, including Magnus Nilsson and Massimo Bottura, as well as Ben Shewry of Attica Restaurant in Melbourne, Australia Francis Mallmann from El Restaurante Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires, Argentina Niki Nakayama from Los Angeles, CA, US and Dan Barber, of Blue Hill Restaurant at Stone Barns and in NYC.
It’s hard to say what’s going to be covered exactly, things are being kept under wraps to keep an element of surprise, but in this newly released trailer (below), which went online a day ago, Massimo hints at a point in his trajectory when he actually considered closing his restaurant Osteria Francescana, and Magnus Nilsson talks about wanting to create the greatest restaurant in the world, but not quite knowing how it would end up. Chef’s Table certainly looks like it’s going to serve up some serious food for thought.
We imagine you're a bit like us and can't wait to see it. Before you do though, you might want to get some greater insight into Massimo’s working practices by buying our book, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef. And if it's Magnus you're interested in, get Faviken. Finally, if you're eating out this weekend, why not make your restaurant choice from Where Chefs Eat?
Bread Is Gold Massimo Bottura
Price AUD$55.00 Price CAD$54.95 Price &euro39.95 Price £29.95 Price T39.95 Price USD$39.95
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Massimo Bottura, the world's best chef, prepares extraordinary meals from ordinary and sometimes 'wasted' ingredients inspiring home chefs to eat well while living well.
'These dishes could change the way we feed the world, because they can be cooked by anyone, anywhere, on any budget. To feed the planet, first you have to fight the waste', Massimo Bottura
Bread is Gold is the first book to take a holistic look at the subject of food waste, presenting recipes for three-course meals from 45 of the world's top chefs, including Daniel Humm, Mario Batali, René Redzepi, Alain Ducasse, Joan Roca, Enrique Olvera, Ferran & Albert Adrià and Virgilio Martínez. These recipes, which number more than 150, turn everyday ingredients into inspiring dishes that are delicious, economical, and easy to make.
- Format: Flexibound
- Size: 255 x 190 mm (10 x 7 1/2 in)
- Pages: 424 pp
- Illustrations: 200 illustrations
- ISBN: 9780714875361
Massimo Bottura is the chef patron of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star restaurant that he opened in 1995 in Modena, Italy, which was ranked #1 in the World's 50 Best in 2016. Massimo was interested in cooking from a young age. In 1986, he opened his first restaurant and subsequently developed his love of food while working for Alain Ducasse and Ferran Adrià. Massimo has created Refettorios, soup kitchens that use excess food from supermarkets and local suppliers to provide healthy, seasonal meals for people in need. He is the author of Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef, which was also published by Phaidon.
Recipes and three-course meals created by: Daniel Humm, Mauro Colagreco, René Redzepi, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Enrico & Roberto Cerea, Yannick Alléno, Gastón Acurio, Andrea Berton, Davide Oldani, Sara Papa & Alberto Calamandrei, Antonio, Alberto & Giovanni Santini, Ugo Alciati, Mitsuharu Tsumura, Alain Ducasse, Viviana Varese, Luca Fantin, Daniel Patterson, Mark Moriarty, Joan Roca, Antonia Klugmann & Fabrizio Mantovani, Matías Perdomo, Enrique Olvera & Carlos García & Rudolfo Guzmán, Cristina Bowerman, Alessandro Negrini & Fabio Pisani, Giuseppe Palmieri, Andreas Caminada, Ferran & Albert Adrià, Petter Nilsson, Carlo Cracco, Juan Mari Arzak, Michel Troisgros, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Jessica Murphy, Manuel & Christian Costardi, Alex Atala, Matt Orlando, Niko Romito, George Brown, Virgilio Martínez, Jeremy Charles, John Winter Russell, Mario Batali, Ana Ros, Moreno Cedroni, Mauro Uliassi, Gennard Esposito, Carles Mampel, Antonio Bachour, Oriol Balaguer, Pino Cuttaia and Alice Delcourt.
"More often than not, what we consider "waste" &ndash be it a fish head or a broccoli core &ndash has enormous culinary potential." &mdashDan Barber
"The recipes are in fact super-accessible. Bread is Gold is worth it for Bottura's voice alone. He finds a way to pair the intellectual with the personal, and his voice is very clear and very warm."—Eater
"[Bread is Gold] will make you both hungry and ready to take on the world's food-waste dilemma."—Tasting Table
". Keep an eye out for chef Massimo Bottura's gorgeously illustrated second book, Bread is Gold."—Eater
"Bread is Gold brings [Bottura's] mission into homes, turning "wasted" ingredients into creative and nutritious meals. With the help of friends like Alain Ducasse, Daniel Humm, and Enrique Olvera, Bottura helps home cooks transform on-hand ingredients into easy-to-make, economical meals." —New Worlder
"What happens when you set the world's best chefs the challenge of creating dishes using waste food? Something pretty special, it turns out. A recipe book that'll make you think differently. Delicious recipes." —Marie Claire
"[It] will make you think differently about what and how you use ingredients in your kitchen."&mdashDepartures Online
"Inventive. A collection of dishes from some of the world's best chefs using simple ingredients and techniques, that anyone can reproduce. But it is also a call to arms – how can we change the way we eat, the way we relate to food. Massimo talks of the importance of the chefs as bringers of change."&mdashLocavoreMagazine.com
"More than just a beautiful collection of recipes from some of the world's most venerated chefs. This is cookbook as social manifesto, a passionately told story of Bottura's ambitions for Refettorio Ambrosiano, the community soup kitchen he established in an outer suburb of Milan in 2015 to tackle the enormity of food waste. Bottura shows us what can be achieved by turning discarded, undervalued and neglected ingredients into fabulous, nourishing recipes."&mdashAustralian Financial Review (Australia)
"Star chef Massimo Bottura takes on food waste. with inspiring recipes from him and his famous friends like Mario Batali."&mdashFood & Wine
"The book IS extraordinary in and of itself – a collective gathering of stories and recipes from some of the finest chefs in the world who eagerly came together to share in the legendary Bottura's message."&mdashToronto Sun
"[A] new cookbook that will figure prominently on WaPoFood's list of the year's best."&mdashWashington Post
"A very different kind of book, taking up the crucially important subject of food waste. Author Massimo Bottura, the best chef in the world 2016, and Phaidon, publisher of the most beautiful books, manage to make it both crucial reading and sexy too. Everyone who was impressed by Dan Barber's Wasted Selfridge's pop-up will find this fascinating and practical. Massimo explains with great warmth how he set up his Food for Soul project with soup kitchens using food waste around the world from London to Milan and Rio. many of his famous chefs helped out with launching the kitchens and have provided recipes used ordinary and 'wasted' ingredients like fish heads and broccoli cores for the book. Rene Redzepi of Noma's popcorn pesto is particularly appealing. Even recipes by the likes of Alain Ducasse and Ferran Adria are eminently do-able. This is a book to inspire serious foodies, those on a budget and change the way we cook and think to save the world."&mdashCultureWhisper.com
"For Bottura, changing the culture around wasting food has become a passion. His new cookbook, Bread Is Gold: Extraordinary Meals with Ordinary Ingredients, is full of recipes and tips for home chefs to improvise with whatever is in the fridge. His goal is to create more confidence in home kitchens."&mdashNPR - All Things Considered
"When a chef whose restaurant consistently ranks among the best in the world puts down his chef's knives long enough to pick up a pen, it's worth paying attention." —American Express Essentials
"It's a book that's as inspirational as it is informative." —Robb Report
"Bread is Gold isn't about making a Michelin starred dish. It's about feeding everyone and lowering food waster while doing so. This book is essential." —UPROXX
"You will never look at dry bread the same way again after reading this." —Vice Munchies
"In this day and age, how can you not admire a cookbook that directly addresses food waste?" —Washington Post
"Massimo Bottura turns water into wine." —Country & Town House
"Fight food waste at home in extraordinary dishes with ordinary ingredients brought to you by one of the finest chefs in the world, Massimo Bottura." —Farmdrop.com
"All royalties from this ace book go to a charity that creates and sustains community kitchens round the world, the cause that's so close to author and super-chef Massimo Bottura's heart. His first refettorio "soup kitchen" had stellar guest chefs and this paperback, scrapbooky book is their recipes for elevating waste and ordinary ingredients into extraordinary meals." —Code Quarterly
"The most remarkable cookbook of the year, came about because a Michelin-starred Italian chef, Massimo Bottura, had the idea of turning discarded food from the Expo 2015 world fair in Milan into meals for those in need. Night after night, chefs cooked three courses for homeless people from ingredients that would have been thrown away, and wrote down the recipes. Not any old chefs either: the list of contributors reads like a who's who of global gastronomy: Alain Ducasse, René Redzepi, Ferran Adrià et al. The result is a terrific collection of recipes." —Evening Standard
"This year's biggest food trend? Turning kitchen trash into edible treasure. Bread is Gold [is] a ground-breaking food waste cookbook. While Bottura [. ] has masterminded some stunning creations: think gazpacho made with overripe strawberries instead of tomatoes, and loaves of bread prepared largely from summer vegetables. Necessity, it seems, really is the mother of invention." —Vogue
"In the process if trying to recreate a food memory, Chef Massimo Bottura started a movement that was designed to fight food waste, but had grown into a social triumph." —Selector Magazine
"A collection of family style recipes from the world's best chefs who have popped-up at the global soup kitchens of Italian superstar Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana)." —Fairfax Good Food
"In his new book, Bread is Gold: Extraordinary Meals with Ordinary Ingredients, Italian chef Massimo Bottura gives us more than just a beautiful collection of recipes from some of the world's most venerated chefs. This is cookbook as social manifesto, a passionately told story of Bottura's ambitions for Refettorio Ambrosiano, the community soup kitchen he established in an outer suburb of Milan in 2015 to tackle the enormity of food waste." —Australian Financial Review Life & Leisure
"The title reflects the widespread belief that bread must not be wasted. [A] lovely book of recipes." —Times Literary Supplement
"An appealing collection of homely dishes." —Sunday Telegraph
"Reveals the secrets of more than 50 of the world's best chefs through easy and inspiring recipes. Would-be wasted ingredients are transformed into delicious and economical dishes in recipes by top culinary talents including Rene Redzepi, Alain Ducasse, Joan Roca and Ferran & Albert Adrià." —Farm Drop, January
"Stunning. Although Bread is Gold is a cookbook (a mighty fine one at that) it's also an antidote [. ] to two problems [. ]. One is food waste, the other malnourishment. Massimo Bottura has a few ideas. Make something beautiful out of something humble. Bread is Gold does exactly that." —The Essential Journal
Massimo Bottura’s Food for Soul refettorios begin to operate in New York and San Francisco ahead of 2021 opening
Food for Soul, the non-profit organisation founded by chef Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore, is excited to announce the first activities of the two brand new refettorios – one in Harlem, New York and another in San Francisco, California – which will officially open in 2021.
Despite the global health crisis that this year has seen, Food for Soul’s either refettorios around the world have continued to operate – even here in London at St Cuthbert’s – and care for those who are most vulnerable. The organisation works collaboratively with local non-profit organisations, artists, chefs and companies. Food for Soul improves social well being and the sustainability of food systems whilst providing culinary training and workforce opportunities for those facing economic barriers.
This Thanksgiving week, the refettorios are working with local partners Youth Action YouthBuild and Hot Bread Kitchen in Harlem and Farming Hope in San Francisco to serve community meals to those who are vulnerable and facing isolation. These amazing grassroots efforts offer a moment of respite to celebrate the power of food, art and culture to create social change.
Chef’s Table Massimo Bottura, founder of Food for Soul said: “Imagine a jam session where the most amazing artists are performing, all together, to lift up the souls. What we’re doing is exactly the same, a song of collaboration which is unifying Food for Soul efforts and our partners to take action. We’re building our new Refettorios’ walls, but we cannot stand aside in a moment when communities need us the most.”
Food for Soul is a cultural project and the driving force behind it is not just about the amount of meals served, but the compassion, hospitality and beauty behind each meal served. It’s about making sure no individual gets left behind in the face of the global pandemic.
The editorial unit
Photo: Simon Owen
Learn New Recipes Online From The Best Chefs Around The World
With families staying home to avoid the Coronavirus, many Michelin star and celebrity chefs have begun to use their social media platforms to host online cooking classes. In this guide by azureazure.com we list some of the top chefs that are currently offering online classes and how to access them.
José Andrés’ “#RecipesforthePeople”
Currently trending on Twitter, Michelin star chef José Andrés, who is known for his philanthropic efforts of providing food to those in need such as Washington, D.C.’s firefighters, quarantined cruise ship passengers, and the citizens of Puerto Rico who were affected by Hurricane Maria in 2017, has once again decided to give back in the form of hosting online cooking classes. Every evening the Spanish-American chef and founder of World Central Kitchen, a non-profit devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters, posts videos of himself and his family in their kitchen making easy to follow recipes to uplifting playlists in an effort to inspire those at home to cook a new dish.
To access Chef Andrés’ nightly cooking classes check out his twitter account every evening or search for the hashtag #RecipesforthePeople on twitter.
Massimo Bottura’s “Kitchen Quarantine”
Broadcasting live from Modena, Italy, Michelin star chef and owner of Osteria Francescana, Massimo Bottura, hosts online cooking classes as part of his new Instagram series Kitchen Quarantine. “It’s not a master class, it’s quarantine with our family. We just want to show to the world that with a few things—a table, a few ingredients, a family—we can have fun,” Bottura said. In some of his most recent episodes you can see him and his family making ragú from leftovers, transforming simple dishes like macaroni and cheese, and even whipping up Modena’s signature soup, tortellini in brodo.
To access Chef Massimo Bottura’s cooking classes tune in at 8 p.m. CET (Central European Time) on his IGTV.
Michael Symon’s “#Symon Dinners”
Acclaimed Chef and Food Network regular, Michael Symon has joined the latest group of chefs to offer online cooking classes on his own Instagram account via IGTV as well as on Food Network’s Facebook page. With the trending hashtag #SymonDinners, those interested in learning new recipes and dishes can easily find and access the chef’s online cooking classes. Recent dishes highlighted in his classes include pork chops and black beans, lentil stew, and sesame-roasted chicken with bean puree. During his classes, Symon makes it a priority to answer questions from viewers during the live sessions, adding a personal touch to each class.
Chef Michael Symon. Photo courtesy of (ABC/ Craig Sjodin)
When asked about why he decided to host his own online cooking classes Chef Symon said at the beginning of his lentil soup episode, “[I am] going to do this every day, keep cooking, keep using up what’s in the pantry, answer as many questions as I can, keep a little bit of normalcy in our life so we can get food on the table for everyone.”
Catch Chef Michael Symon’s online cooking classes on his own Instagram page on IGTV and on Food Network’s Facebook page. Check daily to see when his next class will take place.
6 Reasons Chef’s Table Is the Only Food Show You Need
A few years ago, my spouse and I made the choice to stop paying for cable. We only ever mainlined Food Network for hours on end, and there were (and are) plenty of cooking and food shows available on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. We realized we didn’t need cable to yell at contestants on Cutthroat Kitchen or bite our nails over basket ingredients on Chopped.
And ever since Netflix premiered Chef’s Table in 2015, few other cooking shows have truly measured up. The series certainly has its issues &mdash like the fact that it seriously underrepresents female chefs, for one &mdash but in general, the viewing experience is incredibly pleasurable from episode to episode.
Chef’s Table is a deep-dive documentary series focusing on one chef in each episode. There are six one-hour episodes per season, and three seasons are currently available to stream. There are also two spin-off series: Chef’s Table: France, which debuted in 2016, and Chef’s Table: Pastry, which premieres Friday.
Not convinced you should add this series to your queue? Here are just a few reasons you need to jump on the Chef’s Table bandwagon ASAP.
The food is stunning
Admittedly, I could never afford to eat at the majority of the restaurants featured on this series. However, it’s amazing to see what these world-renowned chefs can do with even the most basic ingredients.
Take, for example, how Massimo Bottura, from Italy, took his love of “the crunchy part of lasagna” in the first episode of Season 1 and turned it into its own beautifully plated food. I mean, what? He also transforms cheeses into all kinds of textures, as you can see on his Instagram feed.
The series is beautifully filmed
It isn’t just the food that’s beautiful. Chef’s Table is an incredible visual experience, from the small detail shots of chefs’ hands plating food to establishing shots of restaurant exteriors or cityscapes. Unlike the harsh, glaring lights of food competition shows or the sometimes too-gloomy cinematography of other documentaries, this series strikes a perfect balance. It’s hard to take your eyes off of any episode.
The featured chefs have fascinating stories (especially the women)
Each episode of Chef’s Table focuses on the life and work of a different world-renowned chef, and the passion they express in their interviews and in their work is unparalleled. Some of their struggles are genuinely heartbreaking, and the stories of others are simply fascinating. In every case, their resilience as they worked toward their current status is always inspiring.
The first episode that left me feeling genuinely enamored was the one profiling Niki Nakayama. A queer woman of color who’s described as one of the most innovative chefs working today, Nakayama produces a new menu at her restaurant N/Naka every single night. In her episode, she said she prefers to create a series of cohesive dishes for her guests that will provide an intimate, personal experience, especially for repeat customers. That’s some seriously hard work.
To reach this level of success, Nakayama trained under the guidance of esteemed chefs Takao Izumida and Morihiro Onodera, went on a three-year working tour through Japan, and opened and closed two different restaurants when they weren’t sustaining her passion. During the episode, Nakayama revealed that she’s constantly undermined because of her gender and appearance, but she’s never given up the fight. Now her craft is widely admired by others in the food industry.
Although the series doesn’t feature nearly enough women, the women it does feature are such hardworking, dedicated chefs who are constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to food.
It’s a perfect compromise to watch with a companion
If you’re really into Netflix docuseries and your partner (or friend, or family member) just wants to watch Great British Bake Off again, Chef’s Table strikes a nice balance between the two. It’ll please the foodie, the artist and/or the biography-obsessed historian in your life, and it provides hours of conversation.
When I sat down to re-watch the first season (my favorite) last week, my spouse and I had a long conversation about traditions of Italian cooking, based on Massimo Bottura’s episode. We also talked about the lack of women profiled on the show, which led to a conversation about how women are often underrepresented all across the food world, despite there being so many passionate, hardworking, talented women in kitchens everywhere &mdash literally, everywhere &mdash in the world.
You’ll discover tons of places to add to your travel bucket list
If you want to “eat around the world” or even just reserve a table at a really fancy, really delicious restaurant to impress someone (that someone could be yourself), Chef’s Table provides plenty of destinations. The food on this series is mouthwatering and gorgeous, and from what the interviewees all say, it’s worth traveling to taste.
Chef’s Table has totally reinvigorated my desire to travel to Italy and France, and it’s also made me want to go home to California and do a long, food-focused road trip down the coast. Dominique Crenn, featured in the third episode of Season 2, owns Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, and I feel like I need to go just to see just how innovative her dishes are in real life.
The Language of Dreams: Chef's Table
I'm no foodie, although I have been known to eat – sometimes several times in a single week. For years, I've contemplated signing up for cooking classes (but never pulled the trigger) and one day, bank account permitting, I would love to own a world-class knife set. My relationship to food is erratic at best (a fact testified to by my rollercoasting blood sugar), and my relationship to food television is almost nonexistent. As deep as my love of television goes, cooking shows rarely make the cut – with Heston Blumenthal's short-lived BBC series In Search of Perfection (2006-2007) being an informative and entertaining exception to that rule (but who among us could resist the promise of the perfect Peking duck recipe?). And so if not for my wife deliberately calling me in to watch the last 10 minutes or so of the first episode of Chef's Table three nights ago, I might never have even seen the new Netflix documentary series. As it was, I sat down on the couch with her and was immediately drawn in – and even though it was already past 1 A.M., we didn't stand up until the credits rolled on Episode 2.
Television's love affair with cooking and chefs is long-standing, from Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse to chefs that are TV and media franchises unto themselves, like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, and Anthony Bourdain. As endemic as they have been though, food shows do not often push at the boundaries of the medium. (Their domination of the reality show genre is more proof of that, though I can credit the fact that as least I know I have no idea how to properly slice an onion to an early episode of MasterChef.) Premiering on April 26, Chef's Table is Netflix's first original documentary series, and it is a profound compliment to say that you can watch the entire season and not learn a single recipe. What you will discover are six singular personalities, each with their own engaging stories and personalities that confound the "swearing at the sous chef" tropes of most on-screen chefs.
Filmmaker David Gelb (whose inaugural film, the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, also delved deeply in the world of food) is the man behind Chef's Table. Gelb also directed the show's first and perhaps most affecting episode, devoted to Italian chef Massimo Bottura. The subsequent five episodes follow Gelb's lead, devoting equal time to the chef in the kitchen and to the story of how the chef got there. A "chef's table" is a table set up in a restaurant's kitchen for special guests Netflix's viewers are given that kind of access. We watch them cook and hear them talk about cooking. We see them in their homes, at farmers markets choosing vegetables and at harbours negotiating with fisherman. And we get to see what the food they create. (There is an exquisite anguish in the fact that current technology falls short at letting us taste the food that is so beautifully photographed and displayed in every episode.)
|Chef Niki Nakayama (right) looks on as an assistant works in her kitchen.|
In every episode the subject, along with a rotating gallery of food critics and writers, recounts stories of their struggles and their successes. We meet their spouses, their siblings, their partners and their children. Gelb takes up on a truly international tour: from the southernmost tip of Argentinean Patagonia, with Francis Mallmann, to to the west with Ben Shewry's restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, to the far north of Järpen, Sweden (population: 1,400), with Magnus Nilsson. The show also introduces one up-and-comer among its rock star, Michelin-ranked chefs: Los Angeles' Niki Nakayama. (The youngest and least renowned among the chefs profiled, Nakayama is also the only female chef on the menu this season.) Six times, in six different ways, we learn just why and how someone could devote their lives to food. Almost all suffer from long hours separated from their loved ones, friends, or children, and each deal in their own ways with an industry in which even the most successful always live on the cusp of imminent failure. Chef's Table is a celebration of passion and artistry that, despite its lush images of food and landscape, doesn't pull many punches. Nakayama's story, for one example, is inseparable from the sexism she regularly experiences in the still male-dominated food world. But the star of every episode is food – and often food at its most basic.
The series begins almost literally with a bang: with images of the earthquake that nearly destroyed Modena, Italy in 2012 – a 6.0 magnitude quake that killed more than half a dozen residents, displaced thousands from their homes, and risked throwing the region's famed cheese industry into permanent disarray, with local cheesemakers finding themselves with over 300,000 wheels of damaged cheese, Bottura raised awareness of the disaster worldwide, and stepped up with risotto cacio e pepe , a new risotto recipe using Parmesan instead of the traditional Pecorino: "recipe as social justice," as Bottura describes it. Over the next hour, we get a glimpse into a life passionately lived, as he struggles to bring the "Italian kitchen" into the 21st century. His wife, US-born Lara Gilmore, gets almost as much screen time as her husband – a two-decade relationship that runs almost perfectly parallel to the rise of his cooking career. Of Lara, a wistful Bottura says, "we share the language of creativity, and the language of dreams."
The second episode was equally compelling – profiling Dan Barber, an NYC restaurateur at the forefront of the so-called "farm-to-table" movement. As much ethical entrepreneur as chef, Barber's story brings home a value shared by all six chefs profiled on Chef's Table: cooking is about eating, eating is about flavour, and flavour is about ingredients more than technique. Whether it comes from Barber's environmentally-minded philosophy, Magnus Nilsson's born-of-the-60s freewheeling bohemian worldview, or Bottura's nostalgia for scraps from his grandmother's kitchen, each of the subjects of Chef's Table demonstrate a contagious "respect for ingredients" that will change the way you think about food, and likely the way you will buy and eat it. If solely environmental arguments for farm-to-market shopping, eating locally, and eating seasonally appropriate foods have never impressed you, the case that these chefs make for flavour and for respecting ecosystems (both agricultural and social) that goes into producing flavour may have you checking out a nearby farmers market this summer.
The first season of Chef's Table is currently streaming on Netflix worldwide. No word yet on whether a second season is in the works.
– Mark Clamen is a writer, critic, film programmer and lifelong television enthusiast. He lives in Toronto, where he often lectures on television, film, and popular culture.
At the Chef's Table: Massimo Bottura Part 4 - Recipes
October 27, 2012 at 8pm at the “Salone del Gusto” in Turin, Italy, was the webcasted event “Parmigiano Reggiano Night.” This occasion was to celebrate one of Italy’s most beloved cheeses and an opportunity to virtually share the table with all who supported the local cheese farmers and companies that produce the almighty Parmigiano Reggiano!
The Northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna was greatly affected by the earthquakes of May 20th and 29th. Well-known for its traditional regional cuisine and infamous local products (such as Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto di Parma, and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, to name just a few), the region has hundreds of regional farmers that were affected and many small artisan companies that were damaged during the earthquakes. Many people bought stranded wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano online that would otherwise have no home to age in. To thank people for their support, the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium created the “Parmigiano Reggiano Night” which invited homes around Italy to take part in the webcasted dinner event that shared a recipe by Modena native and world-renowned Chef Massimo Bottura, owner of the Three Michelin “Osteria Francescana” restaurant in Modena, Italy. Chef Bottura created a risotto recipe to be shared at the “Parmigiano Reggiano Night.’ His “Risotto Cacio e Pepe” (cheese and pepper risotto) uses Parmigiano Reggiano cheese as the highlight ingredient, instead of the traditional Pecorino Romano for the “cacio” (see my previous recipe for “Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe” for more information). Click here to see a brief interview with Chef Bottura explaining the inspiration for his dish.
About this recipe
The recipe I share with you is from Chef Massimo Bottura. I only changed the amount of risotto made (4 servings instead of 6 servings) and I simplified the “pepe” element to include a mix of black, white, green and pink peppercorns instead of his more exotic mix of white, Szechuan, Jamaican, Sarawak, and wild peppers. I strongly encourage you to follow his recipe if you can find this wonderful blend for your risotto.
A word of advice: don’t be intimidated by the risotto! As long as you know how you like your risotto, you will know how to cook it. Since the liquid element (usually broth) is slowly added ladle by ladle and stirred until the rice absorbs it before adding more liquid, you will be able to moderate how your rice cooks to your taste. Yes, it is that simple, even if risotto disguises itself as a sophisticated dish, it is not complicated to make.
Chef Bottura’s recipe fascinated me because he obtains the liquid element for the risotto from the aged parmesan cheese! The recipe calls for heating the freshly grated aged parmesan with water, until the cheese separates into threads. Allowing the liquid to cool and be refrigerated overnight creates a separation of “Parmigiano Reggiano water” used to cook the rice, and a “Parmigiano Reggiano cream” that is used towards the end to cream the risotto. The result… Brilliant! The flavor… mmm…Divine! I will certainly be using this “Bottura technique” very often!
Risotto Cacio e Pepe
Recipe from Chef Massimo Bottura for “Parmigiano Reggiano Night”
Prep time: 10 minutes to make the Parmigiano Reggiano Water (to be made the day before)
Cook time: 30-35 minutes
Ingredients – Parmigiano Reggiano Water:
- 35 ounces (992g) of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (ideally one that has been aged for 30 months)
- 2 2/3 liters of water
- 12 oz (330g) of Arborio rice (Chef Bottura uses “Vialone Nano rice”)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Freshly cracked pepper mix*
Recipe Note: For the pepper, I used a mixed of black, white, green, and pink peppercorns. Chef Bottura uses a mix of white, Szechuan, Jamaican, Sarawak, and wild peppers.
Directions for the Parmigiano Reggiano Water
- Mix freshly grated cheese with water.
- In a pan, at low heat stir cheese and water mixture (if you have a thermometer, heat it up to 176°F (80°C). Note: do not go over 194°F (90°C). According to the original recipe “when the Parmigiano Reggiano starts to go into threads at the bottom, remove the pan from the heat and leave it to cool down to room temperature.”
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave overnight in the fridge.
- The mixture will separate into a creamy solid and water parts. You will use the Parmigiano Reggiano water to cook the risotto, and the cream part towards the end to make the risotto creamy.
Directions for the Risotto
- In a medium sized pan, heat the olive oil (at low heat) and add the Arborio rice and stir the rice to get an even coating of the oil. Sauté the rice in the oil for a minute.
- Add some of the Parmigiano Reggiano water (enough just to cover the rice), and stir frequently until the water is absorbed (but the rice is not dry).
- Keep adding the Parmigiano Reggiano water until the rice develops a softer consistency by taste. When it is nearly cooked, add some of the Parmigiano Reggiano cream and stir thoroughly.
- If needed, add more of the Parmigiano Reggiano water, until the rice reaches your desired consistency in texture.
- Remove from heat and add the remainder of the Parmigiano Reggiano cream.
- Plate the risotto and sprinkle freshly cracked pepper on top.
- Serve immediately.
I hope you give this recipe a try, and share the love for one of Italy’s favorite cheeses at your dinner table! Enjoy!
4 South Philly Barbacoa (S5E1) - Chef Cristina Martinez
With all the talk about what type of people are allowed over which borders, Netflix’s Chef’s Table shines a light on an unexpected chef to remind us all that there are real people attached to the stories we often hear. Chef Cristina Martinez (an immigrant from Mexico) is reminding people, through her food, that the only lines between us all, are the ones we’ve made up.
After building her business up from a pushcart to a brick and mortar shop, her delicious, homesick, and nostalgic dishes have taken her far. She is illustrating to the people around her that even when one is separated from their family, they can still feel at home.
Q&A: Chef Massimo Bottura
Perhaps, if you’re lucky, you’ve dined at chef Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana—the three-Michelin-star restaurant in Modena, Italy, he opened in 1995. Or maybe, you’ve seen Netflix’s Chef’s Table documentary series that captures Bottura in action, enigmatically explaining his cooking ethos and the stories behind his dishes—each comes with its own compelling narrative and name, such as the “Oops, I Dropped the Lemon Tart” dessert, a work of artfully smushed citrus zabaglione. Or perhaps you are one of the Milanese residents for whom Bottura’s Refettorio Ambrosiano project, a soup kitchen he launched in a refurbished refractory at Expo Milan 2015, provided a helping hand. Backed by Pope Frances and featuring participation from celebrated chefs René Redzépi, Alain Ducasse, and Mario Batali, who all dropped by to cook for free, Refettorio Ambrosiano was the first of what Bottura hopes to expand into a global Food for Soul program, in which food items that would have otherwise been wasted (think peels, scraps, and surplus) are instead transformed into nourishing meals. However you’ve heard of him, Bottura leaves an impression. In advance of his appearance at C2 Montreal this month, we connect with Italy’s most progressive sustainable chef to discuss his current inspirations, his nostalgic preference for stale bread, and why he feels cooking is the ultimate act of love.
In your Chef’s Table feature, you say “Tradition, most of the time, doesn’t respect ingredients” while discussing your dish of “walking” tortellini. But you have also said your interest in cooking came from watching your mother and grandmother cook. How do you reconcile the pleasures of nostalgia with the necessity to progress?
My kitchen indulges in both, actually. Whether we realize it or not, culinary traditions are in constant evolution. It is a mistake to think that they should be fixed or put under glass. What is a traditional recipe after all? Most likely, it was an experiment or an improvisation that was successful, surprisingly delicious, seasonal, and used local ingredients—even kitchen scraps and left-overs. Some of the most famous recipes from the Italian kitchen have come out of a seemingly empty pantry, some leftover bread, and a handful of good luck.
I like to think that our kitchen at Osteria Francescana is connected to this tradition of innovation, experimentation, and trial and error. We try to keep ourselves constantly in evolution by never taking for granted that we “know everything,” but that there is always something more to be discovered in the kitchen. For example, our meat ragout and broth recipes are continually reviewed and tweaked, improved and experimented with. We oscillate between traditional and contemporary techniques, adjust the recipe according to the ingredients available, and ask ourselves hard questions, such as “Are we really sure that the traditional recipe respects the ingredients?” If not, we, as contemporary chefs, feel obliged to change the recipe, improve it, and move it forward.
I find that this way of thinking is in tune with all of the arts, whether it be music, theater, dance, or literature. We all work within our genre, look to the past and try to bring the best of it into the future. Sometimes that means letting go of something and adopting a new style, technique, or attitude at other times, it means being traditional or conservative when others are not. In my heart of hearts, I feel most comfortable when I am swimming upstream, against the current and looking for my own interpretation of history, culinary traditions, and my identity.
You draw upon moments in your life to inspire your recipes. What emotional memories are currently capturing your imagination?
The past year has been a very emotional one for me. The Refettorio Ambrosiano project and the founding of Food for Soul are both directly related to my memories of growing up as a kid—the way my mother ran her kitchen and the kind of waste-free cooking I was raised with. All of these memories have come together to push me to be a more ethical and socially active chef. When I lost my mother in January 2014, I realized the greatest lesson she taught me was [that] cooking is an act of love. This has permeated everything over the past two years.
Right now we are working on a new cookbook, Bread is Gold, from the recipes that 65 chefs created during Expo at the Refettorio Ambrosiano soup kitchen in Milan. This will be an amazing book for home cooks, kids, aspiring chefs, and also a new model for soup kitchens. All the recipes are simple, made with ingredients that most of us have somewhere in the pantry or about to spoil in our refrigerators. It’s a book that looks at tradition from a very open point of view, and maybe will define a new tradition, one more connected to who we are, how we shop, and the reality of our kitchens—not the idealized version.
In addition to that, we’ll be opening a soup kitchen in Rio… Maybe one in New York, Detroit, L.A., or Berlin in 2017. These aren’t everyday soup kitchens but spectacular places, often revived from abandoned industrial spaces, which are filled with beauty, art, design, and delicious food. We are cooking with salvaged waste—or food that could easily be thrown away—and teaching the next generation to be more careful with our precious resources. I believe that food can be a bridge between rich and poor, hunger and waste. It can be a bridge for people to create new communities. This is a cultural project, not a charity project. And culture is really the most important and influential aspect of the future of food. Without culture we don’t know who we are, we lose our sense of identity. With culture we gain knowledge and consciousness. And from there it is a very small step to becoming socially responsible—for yourself, your family, your business, and your community. We are all in this together.
What element of your past is one which you have been toying with transforming into a new dish, and how did it come to you?
In the Osteria Francescana kitchen we are always playing with our culinary memories and looking for new ways to make them accessible to our guests who come from all over the world and may not share our childhood flavours. This desire to share the true Italian kitchen with guests from all over the world is very exciting but also difficult. People love and adore the Italian kitchen and with that, no one wants it to change (especially the Italians!). Our work is not about forgetting the past but finding the most appropriate way to present it and share it with our guests today—in the year 2016 and beyond.
A dish I am in love with is a play on three classical Mediterranean fish preparations. It looks like something we took out of the trash but tastes hauntingly like my memory of the little hotel on the Adriatic where we vacationed with my family. Every night there was fish offered and it was always and only prepared one of three ways: sotto sale (baked under salt), alla mugnaia (sautéed in a wine and butter sauce), and al cartoccio (cooked in wrapped parchment or foil). To push the memory into reality, we’ve combined the three. This dish addresses our desire to insure that the Italian kitchen doesn’t stop with the Italian kitchen we know, but makes way for the one we have yet to discover.
You are always aware of and analyzing your surroundings—is there an element of Canadian food culture you admire or have had influence your work, and why?
I ended my last trip to Montreal with a grand finale at a sugar shack. It was cold outside and we were eating like no tomorrow. The combination of high and low, basically maple syrup and pork every which way, was a revelation. We got into our Sugar Shack mode and came up with a savory dessert pancake with maple syrup and grilled foie gras that was served at Osteria Francescana for a while after that trip. Who knows what will happen on this one!
Limiting food waste is an interest of yours can you share why you feel drawn to the issue, and how you have begun to take steps to respond to it?
As I mentioned, it all began thinking about my mother and the culinary lessons she taught me. We never wasted anything at home—not even a breadcrumb. In fact, as a kid, my breakfast was warm milk with toasted breadcrumbs, a drop of coffee, and lots of sugar. The decision to work against not wasting food came out of an emotional place, not necessarily an educated or environmental point of view. But the more I learned, the more I spoke with people and studied the food distribution chain, the more horrible things I saw. The craziest statistics come from our own homes, in Europe and America, where we are wasting up to 40% of the food we buy. Those numbers scared me and I decided to start speaking up and doing something about it. Food for Soul is a nonprofit organization that I founded in February 2016 to inform, inspire, and educate people about food waste and make a change for the better.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge when it comes to reducing food waste, and how will we overcome it?
The biggest challenge is time. We are all so busy and never have enough time to prepare the meals we’d like to. Not wasting is easy if you take the time to shop properly, use everything in your refrigerator and pantry, and explore the full range of recipes that can be created from an ingredient—not just the “nice” part, but even the potato peels, carrot tops, discarded leaves, wilted lettuce, banana peels, expired milk and dairy, and of course, leftover stale bread. This is what Bread Is Gold is all about: rethinking our definition of ingredients from the farm-to-table obsession to looking through our trash (or at least the back of our refrigerators) for hidden treasures. If we can teach our children to be less wasteful, all of our futures will be brighter (and more delicious!).