My Life In Food: Massimo Bottura

 

Bottura is possibly the most influential figure in the new generation of Italian chefs. His avant-garde approach has seen his Modena restaurant, Osteria Francescana, win three Michelin stars and come 5th in the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. He sits on the board of Ferran Adrià's Basque Culinary Centre.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

Most used is my mind. That is the first requirement in our kitchen – don't get lost in the daily routine. Keep your mind as sharp as your knives. Always stay alert, the next big thing may be just around the corner. The least used, arrogance. I can't stand it and yet so many chefs seems to be armed with it. For me, humility wins every time.

If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

In Modena, I'd go to the market, buy some bread, a couple of slices of prosciutto, spread some fresh squacquerone (local creamy sour cheese) and onions marinated in balsamic vinegar. Or I'd head to the crescenteria shop near the Albinelli market for a couple of tigelle, a thin toasted flat bread, filled with prosciutto, cheese and fresh greens. Delicious. In London I'd go to Nuno Mendes' Corner Room for a bite or St John bakery for a sandwich.

What do you eat for comfort?

Pizza. I know it's banal for an Italian to say this, however there is nothing like a freshly baked pizza from a local pizzaiolo. A specialty I created is the "sfilo", pulled not rolled, so it is in an oval shape not a circle, with fresh tomato, oregano, anchovies and buffalo mozzarella at the end. Nothing makes you feel more at home.

If you could eat only bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Potatoes. There are so many varieties, each with a season and a particular flavour. At Osteria Francescana we even have a dessert with them in, it's called "a potato waiting to become a truffle".

What's your desert island recipe?

Tortellini and more tortellini. Modenese tortellini are filled with prosciutto, veal and parmigiano reggiano cheese. They are smaller than a cherry – and served either in capon broth or with crème of parmigiano reggiano cheese. Tortellini connect me to my grandmother. She used to make them twice a day sometimes.

What's your favourite cookbook?

Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi, although I have never made one dish from it. It was published in 1891 and was the first collection of recipes from all over Italy. Published just after the unification of Italy, this cookbook served to unite our country more than any government ever could. I have my grandmother's frayed copy with her notes scribbled in pencil next to her favourites.

What's your favourite restaurant?

It's impossible to choose just one. My favourite place to eat is at my mother's table because there, and only there, food takes on another dimension. My favourite restaurants around the world are those where I have friends in the kitchen, from Paris to New York, Copenhagen to San Sebastian. You always get a good meal from a good friend.

Who taught you to cook?

I learned to cook from Lidia Cristoni, who came into my kitchen at my old place, Trattoria del Campazzo, on the second day I was open. I also learned about technique from Georges Coigny over the five years of apprenticing with him on my "day off". I learned the value of products, terroir and tradition from Alain Ducasse at Hotel de Paris. From Ferrran Adrià I learned to push the envelope as far I as could.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape