Ten years with Bottura

Day two at Identità Expo: Davide Di Fabio tells us about life at Osteria Francescana

02-05-2015
Davide Di Fabio and Massimo Bottura, in a photo by

Davide Di Fabio and Massimo Bottura, in a photo by Brambilla - Serrani, in the kitchen of Identità Expo

We know it already: Massimo Bottura is a star. Seeing him in a context such as Expo Milano 2015 can only confirm this feeling. What sometimes may be harder to catch is the great attention he pays to teamwork. Instead, this is the first thing that Davide Di Fabio mentions, ten years inside Francescana’s team and sous chef since around a year ago (together with Takahiko “Taka” Kondo): «The beauty of working with Massimo is that he really makes you feel as if Osteria Francescana was your restaurant. He never says “I am”, always “we are”».

How did you get to Francescana?
In 2000, when I was attending catering school in San Benedetto del Tronto, I found a magazine with a two-page article on Massimo. Upon reading it, I fell in love with his cooking philosophy.

Davide Di Fabio, born in 1985, is at work at Osteria Francescana since 2005

Davide Di Fabio, born in 1985, is at work at Osteria Francescana since 2005

Do you remember something in particular?
There were dishes that had really surprised me. I believe one was called A pen is to a feather as a pigeon is to a grill, and then there was the Pasta e fagioli scomposta: I understood right away that there was something different in Bottura, who knew how to dare and question tradition. I then started to follow him, looking for magazines that would speak about him.

In other words, you were a fan: what next?
At 18, as soon as I finished school, I began to work in the summer by the sea. But I soon realised this was not what I wanted, so I started to send a few CVs. The first I sent was to Francescana and the first to answer was indeed Massimo. He called me two weeks later saying he needed a person. I said no.

Beautiful Sonic Disco of Love and Hate at the Gate of Hell Painting with Wicked Pools of Glorious Color and Psychedelic Spin-painted Cotechino, not Flame Grilled: this dish was born thanks to the friendship between Massimo Bottura and British artist Damien Hirst

Beautiful Sonic Disco of Love and Hate at the Gate of Hell Painting with Wicked Pools of Glorious Color and Psychedelic Spin-painted Cotechino, not Flame Grilled: this dish was born thanks to the friendship between Massimo Bottura and British artist Damien Hirst

What? Why?
I don’t know! I was young, I had a girlfriend, I was very tied to my family and afraid of moving to Modena. But as soon as I told my dad what had happened, he made me call back that same night and the following day he took me to Massimo’s. Ten days later I was part of the team. And this year, on April 9th, I celebrated ten years at Francescana.

Is there a dish you prepared in these years that you feel closer to?
One can be Garlic and snails soup: a morning, in the winter of 2007, we had discussed with Massimo about putting something with snails in the menu, I was returning from Friuli and had this inspiration for a dish with a marked taste of earth, which we then developed and was later awarded as “best dish of the year” by the Espresso guide.

After Renzi and Martina, who yesterday visited Identità Expo, event Pier Carlo Padoan, Minister of Economy and Finance, tasted Massimo Bottura’s menu. To his right Piero Galli, Expo Milano 2015’s general manager, and Roberto Arditti, the event’s public relations manager

After Renzi and Martina, who yesterday visited Identità Expo, event Pier Carlo Padoan, Minister of Economy and Finance, tasted Massimo Bottura’s menu. To his right Piero Galli, Expo Milano 2015’s general manager, and Roberto Arditti, the event’s public relations manager

What would you like the result of Expo to be?
It seems to me that in these past few years everyone has become a cooking expert. Everything is much more complex, however, and I hope this will be for many a chance to discover other culinary cultures and open their minds.

And what would you like the future to bring you?
Many ask me if I want to open a restaurant of my own but I’m not thinking about it. Of course, this is every chef’s dream but right now I’m too happy where I am, I couldn’t ask for more.


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Identità Expo

Activities, ideas and protagonists in Identità Golose's location inside the 2015 World Fair