In October, Slow Food’s Salone del Gusto took place in Turin. Massimo Bottura took part in two workshops at the event. For the first one, called “Come to Italy with me”, Bottura created culinary masterpieces incorporating Lavazza’s coffee, a product proud to call Turin home.
Later that day Bottura showcased one of his favorite regional products- Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena- that he said runs through his veins. He started with a tasting of different traditional Balsamics coupled with Parmigiano Reggiano to demonstrate how unified these two excellent regional products are. Throughout both workshops, the topics of creativity, inspiration, aesthetics and ethics were discussed while he presented his dishes to the audience.
Bottura refers to Kandinsky’s pyramid in art theory to explain where inspiration comes from- “Creativity comes first, then techniques and raw materials. Techniques should always be at the service of materials.” He explains that Osteria Francescana serves the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena with the greatest respect for the ingredient. For him when you have a good product you can create anything.
Techniques and materials get the best out of the works of craftsmen, and he believes that is why you always need ‘ethics’ and not only ‘aesthetics’. For example, in the Lavazza workshop he presented a dish called “Think green”, a seasonal dish that represents Piedmont’s region with truffles and coffee bread, a piece of art that needs to be smelt to let your imagination loose.
Three elements are important in the kitchen for him: modesty, passion and dreams. Modesty is required to work as a team that must be united, where every task is important. Emotion is transmitted through passion. For him it’s important to believe in your dreams and that with modesty and passion they can come true.
He surprised the audience with a dish inspired by a book by Gertrude Stein that narrates her encounter with Picasso. Bottura read the passage about cubism to the audience while the Osteria Francescana team prepared the dish. It aimed to break boundaries between salt and sugar by playing with techniques to preserve meat.
For chef Massimo Bottura it is also important to work with local products promoting the region. Art in gastronomy has, as Bottura states, to go hand in hand of ethics. He was a true inspiration to everyone in the room. He ended the day with the notion of evolving and moving forward.