Boasting three Michelin stars and ranked second in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, he’s one of the most famous chefs in the world. Spotlight on a charismatic maverick.
Massimo Bottura’s innovative reimagining of traditional dishes has made him a one-of-a-kind ambassador for contemporary Italian haute cuisine. He cites contemporary art and its leading lights among his inspirations, from Maurizio Cattelan and Ai Weiwei to Damien Hirst. His highly imaginative dishes with names like Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano, Oops, I dropped the lemon tart!, and Tribute to Thelonius Monk are a huge hit with diners. Bottura and his restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena are recognised the world over as a creative culinary force. His master stroke is distancing himself from his heritage and creating a new Italian culinary identity that is critical, not nostalgic, irreverent, self-mocking and ironic.
In 2015, Phaidon published the first ever book about Bottura’s creative processes. Its title, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef, says a lot about his sense of humour. In it he reflects on his career and reveals how his love for Italy has shaped his approach to food – how he has tapped into his roots for his key creative influences using a two-way process. Bottura also looks back at his time as a trainee chef with Ferran Adrià at elBulli in Spain and Alain Ducasse at Le Louis XV in Monte-Carlo. As the great French chef has said of him: “He feeds on Emilia-Romagna, adding a bold dash of modern art, and lives life to the full. Massimo Bottura is an agile, effervescent gourmet. Let his cuisine cast its spell over you.