Last night in New York, Massimo Bottura’s Trattoria Francescana was awarded first place by the World’s 50 Best Restaurant and as Italian I can only be proud.
With Massimo Bottura Italy won as well with tradition, innovation, the territory and its products and the best our country has to offer.
The first time I heard of Massimo Bottura and his Trattoria Francescana was a few years ago on a TV show on the best Italian chefs. Bottura seemed easy going, a bit grumpy at first but basically a chef and restaurateur passionately devoted to his work who didn’t want to waste his time. At the beginning of the interview he says he doesn’t like television but I am thankful to cable for showing us something worth watching every once in a while. As in this case.
He talked about the importance of markets and their fresh products, the relationship of trust with farmers and fishermen, the fruits that our fabulous land gives us every day and how little is enough for a sandwich with sausage to become a masterpiece.
Obviously the first thing I thought looking at the dishes on his menu was that they were pretentious canape for snobs after which you would’ve needed a pizza to be able to say you’ve eaten. I laughed about his Ricordo di un Panino alla Mortadella (memory of a mortadella sandwich) for hours with my sister. The truth is that it is real art.
My father’s passion for cooking flows through my veins and starting to cook and to dabble in the composition of the dishes I realized that he was right, you eat first with your eyes. And then all Bottura’s aesthetically impeccable dishes have acquired a new meaning.
Cooking is an art that starts from the eyes and gets inside you, literally. The aesthetic structure of the dish is nothing but a fitting frame for a painting of flavors masterfully combined.
We don’t eat to live anymore but we live to eat, ‘cause food shouldn’t just fill our stomachs but our minds too.
Some time ago a friend asked me what was the pillar of Italian culture. I had to thinkt about it for a moment because “family” did not seem quite the right answer, there was something missing. Then laden tables came to my mind. Of course family is one of the pillars of our culture but if we think about it, whether it is with family, friends or co-workers, most of our “meetings” take place around a table. You may think that it’s like every other culter but no, for some cultures is going for a drink, for others a cup of tea, we eat (and drink wine). It’s like we always have an excuse to eat something together. We gather around a banquet for any reason and when we want to keep it simple we go with a pizza (envied by the world). So why don’t we make this convivium a unique experience combining colors, flavors and smells in a symphony for our senses?
That’s what Massimo Bottura does in his Osteria Francescana, with only 12 tables because care and attention to the customer are fundamental. And that’s what was awarded last night at New York’s Cipriani Wall Street. What won was a critical look at the past, without nostalgia, to improve the future,the passion,the research, the creativity and the attention to detail (and a little manic tendency to perfection).
And so we cheers to Massimo and Italy and waiting to go back to my native land and make a detour at Osteria Francescana we will be perfectly fine trying the third ranked Eleven Madison Park (whose book has been given to me for Christmas with my immense joy!)here in New York ASAP.