“In my future there is always more future” Massimo Bottura
“We have interpreted our third Michelin star as a point of departure, not arrival.”
In November 2011, Chef-Patron Massimo Bottura’s ‘dreaming’ paid off when the Michelin Guide bestowed its ultimate rating -a much coveted third star- upon Osteria Francescana in Modena. In keeping with Bottura’s determination to never lose sight of the future, within days of Michelin’s announcement plans were laid out to project the restaurant forwards. On 5th September 2012, this vision will be realised when the doors to Osteria Francescana reopen following months of renovation and innovation, unveiling an updated insight to Bottura’s two greatest passions- contemporary art and avant garde cuisine.
“Two steps back, one step forward. Invest in understanding your own history- gastronomic and other- before seeking out the new.” Massimo Bottura
Restructuring work started in January 2012 with the installation of a spacious new kitchen, built in a building situated adjacent to the restaurant. True to form, this collaborative project, between Osteria Francescana’s chefs and Emilian company MBM Italia, takes inspiration from the restaurant’s terroir and history by combining grey stone tiles and oyster coloured walls to echo the Medieval cobbles of Modena’s streets, whilst incorporating the latest in culinary innovation.
Osteria Francescana looks to the artisans and farmers of Emilia Romagna to fill its larders, and has turned to the region’s culinary design companies to furnish its kitchen. MBM Italia has created slick stainless steel designs and bespoke equipment for each member of the kitchen team, local manufacturer Hot Mix Pro has supplied the latest in thermomixing technology, Lea Ceramica from nearby Sassuolo has produced the kitchen’s ceramic stone tiles and Giblor’s, an Emilian company which suffered terribly during the May 2012 earthquakes, has provided the kitchen staff’s whites.
During the August holidays, local carpenters moved the positioning of Osteria Francescana’s entrance to where it originally lay some 100 years ago when the building operated as a traditional Modenese osteria. A contemplation on looking towards the future whilst not forgetting the past, this structural reworking shows a respect for both the restaurant’s history and the very best contemporary Italian design. Modenese interior designer Catia Baccolini, who collaborated with chef Bottura during Osteria Francescana’s early days, designed the striking jewellery-box entrance crafted with floor-to-ceiling white glass panels encased in thick slabs of opaque Peruvian Terra di Siena marble. Walking into the restaurant, Italian craftsmanship is emphasised by a selection of Bottega Veneta furniture in their signature intreccio leather and Ingo Maurer’s iconic “Campari” lamp made with 10 bottles of Campari Soda. A large Peter Halley “Conductor” painting draws the view into the enveloping space. The designer’s selected tones of blue and grey from the Farrow & Ball shop which recently opened near Osteria Francescana, give form and meaning to the interconnecting rooms.
“I always think of a new plate as an architect thinks about a building. Why am I making this? For who? With what materials? How will it make people feel? What does it say about the future?” Massimo Bottura
Osteria Francescana will now have two main dining rooms seating up to 35 people and a separate private dining area for up to 12, each with its own distinctive colour, lighting and artwork. Pillars of the Osteria Francescana team remain steadfast; Giuseppe Palmieri greeting guests to the restaurant as he has done for the past thirteen years, alongside Andrea Garelli and Denis Bretta, Yoji Tokuyoshi, Davide DiFabio and Takahiko Kondo at the helm of the kitchen brigade and the heroic Enrico Vignoli leading Massimo’s office with the assistance of Riccardo Parmeggiani.
Italian lighting designer Davide Groppi has redefined the ambience of the restaurant by creating specific moods for each individual room and space, and has incorporated qualities from the restaurant’s timeless Ingo Maurer lighting system, a signature of Osteria Francescana having been installed for the opening in 1995. “My idea has always been to make simple, pure, necessary lighting. Sometimes even magical.” Davide Groppi
“The artworks on the walls lend a view of the landscape of our ideas.” Massimo Bottura
An old osteria transformed into a Mecca of contemporary art and culture, both Chef Bottura’s walls and dishes are adorned with references to experimental art, peppered with social, political and historical implications and laced with a healthy sense of humour.
The restaurant currently houses works such as Francesco Vezzoli’s “La Vie en Rose”, Carlo Benvenuto’s “Table and glass” and Mario Sciffano’s “World Map”, all of which have helped to define Osteria Francescana’s unique style with their poetic interpretations. This impressive collection will soon be expanded to include works from Bottura’s personal collection. Maurizio Cattelan’s “Tourists”; three stuffed Venetian pigeons, part of a piece featured in both the 1997 and 2011 Biennale of Venice, brings to mind Bottura’s irreverent approach to contemporary Italian culture, whist Ceal Floyer’s minimalist “Paper and Ink” installation (a box of 20 scholastic coloured markers and water colour paper) Jonathan Borofsky’s “half a sailboat painting” (literally half a painting) and Gavin Turk’s “bin bag” reflect the chef’s playfulness, a theme which features throughout Osteria Francescana’s menu. Grazia Toderi’s aerial photograph of Rome in tones of sepia and a series of Icelandic landscapes by Olafur Elison speak about nature and terroir, and will join an eclectic body of works by international contemporary artists such as Peter Halley, Matthew Barney, Alighiero Boetti, Gregory Crewdson and Luca Pancrazzi.
Osteria Francescana re-opens to the public on September 5th 2012. It is closed for Saturday lunch and all day on Sunday. Reservations are essential.
Osteria Francescana ranked 5th on the 2012 World`s 50 Best Restaurants listing and has been voted the best restaurant in Italy for the past 3 years. The restaurant currently holds three Michelin stars and achieved near perfection with the highest score ever recorded – 19.75 out of 20 – in the L`Espresso dining guide.