Unstoppable Bottura

The chef from Modena, in Milan to present Al Mèni, updates us on the Refettorio and Food for Soul projects

Massimo Bottura in front of the mural project to

Massimo Bottura in front of the mural project to be launched at Refettorio in Modena this Friday 19th May. The chef from Modena was in Milan to present Al Mèni, an international chef circus-event that is to liven up Rimini on the 17th and 18th of June (Translated by Slawka G. Scarso)

Osteria del Treno in Milan, lunchtime, a couple of days ago: Massimo Bottura was there to present the fourth edition of Al Mèni, the “market circus dedicated to flavours and things made with hands and heart” that will occupy Piazzale Fellini in Rimini, the coming 17th and 18th June. «A large tent under which», started the curator of the event Enrico Vignoli, secretary of Chef to Chef Emilia Romagna, «we won’t have stars at work but chefs who want to make people know their territory of origin, working in close contact with producers».

The debut at Al Mèni will entirely belong to Davide di Fabio, sous chef at Osteria Francescana in Modena, «The most extraordinary chef among today’s new generation», Bottura himself tweeted only a few days ago. After him, a series of other excellent interpreters from Romagna and abroad: Karime Lopez, Virgilio Martinez’s sous chef at Central in Lima, Zayiu Hasegawa from Den, Tokyo (39th in the 50Best), Simone Tondo Sardinian from Paris.

There will be Portuguese Joao Rodriguez (Feitoria, Lisbon), Catalans Josè Delgado and Rafa Solinas, James Lowe from bistro Lyle’s in London, Emily Harris, right arm of Ana Ros, best female chef according to the 50Best, in Hisa Franko in Slovenia. The Italian army includes: Paolo TeveriniGian Paolo RaschiGianluca Gorini, Piergiorgio Parini, Mariano GuardianelliGianluca EspositoDaniele Baruzzi, Omar Casali.

Massimo Bottura a couple of days ago in Milan, between the director of the Al Mèni market Carlo Catani and Enrico Vignoli, coordinator of the event and secretary of Chef to Chef Emilia Romagna

Massimo Bottura a couple of days ago in Milan, between the director of the Al Mèni market Carlo Catani and Enrico Vignoli, coordinator of the event and secretary of Chef to Chef Emilia Romagna

«Don’t miss Al Mèni because it might be the last edition», said Bottura with a little preoccupation, «Fico Eataly World could attract many of the region’s resources to Bologna». «This won’t happen», reassured from the same stage the Regional Assessor to Tourism Andrea Corsini, «because Al Mèni is important to us». «Good», added the chef from Modena, «because it is essential that we work on the other territories of Romagna, without becoming Bologna-centred».

One of the events created around the circus in Romagna will be Lungomare dei sapori, a journey among farmers who are at work in the region with the highest number of PDOs and PGIs in Europe (44). «Don’t miss it», added Bottura, «because it stresses the marvels of our territory, going beyond the short sightedness and self-destruction that too often characterise Italians. To me, Lungomare dei sapori is one of the most beautiful moments of the year».

Quite a demonstration of esteem if you consider the number of events and activities that have the chef from Modena involved all year round, virtually non-stop. Just to mention last week: New York, the trailer for the new season of the very popular series Master of None shot in Via Stella, the meeting with Barack Obama in Milan («We’ll meet again next week», he reveals), a dinner at the Juventus Stadium before the Champions League semi-finals against Munich, right after a series of very successful conferences at UCLA in California, round tables with Jonathan Gold at the Ace hotel on the theme of food waste, and triumphant charity dinners for his non-profit association Food for Soul in Los Angeles.

The map with the activities at Al Mèni in Rimini

The map with the activities at Al Mèni in Rimini

«I’m taking so many flights and melatonin», jokes the skinny chef, «that I sometimes forget to eat. When I’m back in Modena the guys tease me and ask what’s my time zone». A globetrotting exercise repaid by a cascade of awards and satisfaction. The latest: Prix Versailles Central America, the South and the Caribbean 2017, which awarded Refettorio Gastromotiva in Rio de Janeiro and the donation of 700K dollars from the Rockfeller Foundation.

Speaking of Refettori: «On the 5th of June we’ll open the one in London, in a beautiful gothic building in Earl’s Court. By the end of 2018 we’ll open the one in Bronx, New York: let’s hope we can count on the support of the Burnaby Hospital. In Los Angeles I suggested we open one directly inside UCLA and not inside the huge and neglected Skid Row district: if university students were to be volunteers, the message would spread more effectively. On May 19th, at Refettorio in Modena, we’ll launch a mural project by Luca Zamoch [who had already set up Postrivoro] in the old chapel of the canteen at Ghirlandina. Poeple only speak of lists, but these only help to focus the spotlight on ptejr projects. Which are by far the most important things we do».



Reviews, recommendations and trends from Italy, signed by all the authors of Identità Golose