Starting again for Bottura: the Ferrari restaurant in Maranello in March, Osteria Gucci in Tokyo and much more

«Creative minds should find new ideas to overcome this difficult moment». With Francescana running smoothly, there are some great news at Casa Maria Luigia too (with a signature menu)

16-07-2020
Massimo Bottura with daughter Alexa depicted by

Massimo Bottura with daughter Alexa depicted by João Fazenda in April on the cover of New Yorker. Their web show Kitchen Quarantine won Webby Awards; video maker Alexa got the idea, and it went online every day at 8 pm on the chef’s Instagram account 

Lots of smiles and the foot on the most important gas pedal, the one of ideas: this is reopening in Modena, through the eyes and the unrestrained creativity of Massimo Bottura. He told of his post-lockdown phase a few days ago, during the second Identità di Sala webinar, titled “Rebirth: first steps”, organised as usual by Identità Golose and Cantine Ferrari. The chef from Modena was one of the speakers.

Smiles and gas pedals, we were saying: the second element recalls Bottura’s new venture, running iconic restaurant Cavallino in  Maranello, «right in front of the Ferrari headquarters – he said. – It’s the old place where engineer Enzo Ferrari would go every Sunday to watch the car races». It will be reborn with Massimo, «during the lockdown, we would have a call with the guys at Ferrari every Thursday, so that the project could proceed. We finished on the day before reopening. Now it’s time for the renovations. We think we’ll manage to open in March». What kind of place will it be? Bottura had already explained: «We will present a profoundly traditional cuisine, but without it ever being nostalgic: my dream is to see the employees at Ferrari come to Cavallino to celebrate their most important occasions». The experience we’ve designed will be memorable, in such a unique place. Bottura: «I told John Elkann: "Ohhhh, old guy! The project is fine, I don’t want any fee, but you must do something for me: get the best car you have ready for me, I mean at least an 800 horsepower, and we put it in the tracks behind the restaurant. Those who will come to lunch or dinner will be able to try it out". He accepted with enthusiasm». Dynamic summary: «Done! Done! Done!».

A photo at Cavallino with Enzo Ferrari, Niki Lauda and Luca di Montezemolo in 1974

A photo at Cavallino with Enzo Ferrari, Niki Lauda and Luca di Montezemolo in 1974

Bottura with John Elkann. The chef says: «The idea of Cavallino comes from a long friendship with Sergio Marchionne and John Elkann, with whom we often discussed synergies between winning brands, a pairing from which the entire area could benefit. This project is born firstly from a deep relationship between people who enjoyed spending time together, from long conversations in which one could develop territorial marketing by connecting the marvels of our land. In the end, the project was born»

Bottura with John Elkann. The chef says: «The idea of Cavallino comes from a long friendship with Sergio Marchionne and John Elkann, with whom we often discussed synergies between winning brands, a pairing from which the entire area could benefit. This project is born firstly from a deep relationship between people who enjoyed spending time together, from long conversations in which one could develop territorial marketing by connecting the marvels of our land. In the end, the project was born»

Done. That is to say don’t cry, just do. This is Bottura’s mantra: «There’s no point in talking about the menu, if we don’t say something first, if we don’t send a message. Which is: the time to cry is over. This phase may be dark but creative minds must come into the open, bring out the best and set a good example, offer models, so as to help the many young people whom I see in difficulty. We must draw them with the strength of enthusiasm and ideas, create formats through our creativity that can be useful for everyone. This is how we can restart, because this is not an easy moment, and you must know how to react».

 

«It’s no longe time to cry is over. This phase may be dark but creative minds must come into the open, bring out the best and set a good example, offer models, so as to help the many young people whom I see in difficulty. We must draw them with the strength of enthusiasm and ideas, create formats through our creativity that can be useful for everyone»

He’s speeding up, indeed.  And he smiles. «There’s a saying I love: "smiling with your eyes". Take hospitality from behind a mask. The first service we offered after the lockdown was on the 26th of May, at Casa Maria Luigia, an aperitif for a person celebrating their birthday outside. Of course, we were very worried. At one point one of the guests approached my staff and told them: "It’s beautiful to see you smiling with your eyes". It was the joy of being there, of going back to sharing and hosting. Only with their eyes, of course; but you can communicate everything with your eyes. Here at home I have an artwork by Iranian artist Shirin Neshat. It portrays the eyes of women in Muslim countries, where they wear a veil. Eyes that become a crucial tool to speak, to convey something. See, I think that this "smiling with your eyes" is crucial, and even more so now».

The eyes of women, in a photo by Shirin Neshat

The eyes of women, in a photo by Shirin Neshat

Bottura starts again with smiles, enthusiasm, ideas. He gets excited («It was TH-RILL-LING!») when he says of the clients at Osteria Francescana, which reopened on the 2nd of June: «It was the first time a neighbour of mine came! He went down stairs, walked across the road and came inside. "At last I’ve found a table", he said. Then I think of two people from Bellante, in Abruzzo: they explained they’ve been trying to reserve a table for ten years, without ever succeeding. I wanted to hug them, I couldn’t. But they made me so satisfied». In general, Francescana «never had an empty table since it reopened. And this even without foreigners. We saw the first on the 5th of June. Three Germans. Then some Dutch, Belgians, French... People who arrived in Modena by car, clocking up the miles. Otherwise, only Italians; the first days mostly from Emilia, then from all of the country. Even in the two weeks before the lockdown all our guests were 100% Italian; now it’s still 80%. Thank you!». All this considered, «we left the past behind us, and started again with energy ».

Bottura during the Identità di Sala webinar 

Bottura during the Identità di Sala webinar 

This year Osteria Francescana won’t have a day of holiday, «we will be here. We decided this together, in fact the team made the decision. We’ll go on until the 6th of January». The format is the same («Francescana is what it has always been») with the new spectacular menu that we at Identità have already illustrated here: With a little help from my friends. New dishes; but for those who want to taste (again) Bottura’s classics, there’s a big news: Francescana at Maria Luigia, the restaurant in the new venue dedicated to hospitality will open again on Thursday the 3rd of July with a 9-course tasting menu with the great signature dishes of Osteria Francescana, shared with guests from all around the world. And at Casa Maria Luigia there’s a new brunch too, «which will become a Sunset brunch. We will cook things completely differently from Francescana. We only use fire, at three different temperatures, 500°C, 180°C and 60°C for longer cooking processes». How is it going? «What can I say: it exploded in front of our eyes. There’s already a long waiting list».

Osteria Gucci on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. The format will now open in Tokyo too

Osteria Gucci on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. The format will now open in Tokyo too

More news for the Osterie Gucci, now a real international format. After the first location in Florence and the second one opened in February in Los Angeles, the third one will be in Japan, in Tokyo. «We will be in Ginza. Why this choice? We wanted to be off the usual routes, hence Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles and now Ginza. In Milan, Paris, New York and London instead we wanted to keep our Refettori. The one in the Big Apple is undergoing renovations. Right before the lockdown we opened a Refettorio in Mérida, Mexico, too, in an ancient convent. A beautiful place, it required one and a half years of renovations. Facts, facts, facts: I repeat, now all that counts is ideas and facts, that is to say ideas that become facts. I’m proud of the Refettorio in Paris: thanks to all the great restaurants in the French capital and to our chef-friends, we have created a group of people capable of serving up to 5K meals each day. And there’s an artist like JR who takes a small truck and gives out food in the most remote suburbs of the city. It’s beautiful».

Bottura and JR at Refettorio in Paris

Bottura and JR at Refettorio in Paris

Two final thoughts. The first: «I love how in the fine dining in the finest hotels is no longer just French, but also Italian, and in general of everyone, of great chefs, regardless of their origin». The second, for Matteo Lunelli at the end of the webinar: «The other day Andrea Agnelli was at Francescana. He drank Giulio Ferrari Rosé. A fantastic, extraordinary sip». Hurray for Italy.

 

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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