«Don't put out the fire of creativity». Massimo Bottura's lesson at Identità on the road

The historic moment, the message to the institutions, the importance teamwork. Highlights from the masterclass of the chef from Modena and friends, presenting 9 dishes from the latest menu in Via Stella

22-01-2021
Massimo Bottura with his team at the end of the m

Massimo Bottura with his team at the end of the masterclass at Identità on the road 2020To watch all the lessons on our digital platform, click here (for info: iscrizioni@identitagolose.it or call +390248011841, ext. 2215)

«He's the chef all the world envies us and we will never cease to thank him for having brought Italian cuisine into the future». Paolo Marchi introduces with these words Massimo Bottura's masterclass at Identità on the roadtraditionally the most awaited session in every edition of the congress in Milan (and London, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles …). The digital version matches the expectations because it's the faithful translation of what would have been the "in person" version.

The plot is ideally divided into two parts: a long introduction in which the chef from Modena reflects on the current times, sitting at Casa Maria Luigia and chatting with Marchi. And then, at 9’ and 30’’, the real lesson with all his polyglot staff, presenting the magnificent dishes conceived during this difficult year. What follows are the highlights of this recording (a total of 40’ and 47’’). Which deserves to be watched in one session.

The zoom closes up on a huge cabbage picked from the vegetable garden of Casa Maria Luigia: «It's a good emblem of the ‘sense of responsibility’, the theme of your congress», the chef from Osteria Francescana, voted on two consecutive years at the top of the World's 50Best says beaming: «in this phase we have the duty to be even more positive and propositional, something that it's even harder now than during the first lockdown, when we ended up taking the events as something extraordinary. Extra time that we had available for our loved ones and for our creativity».


Casa Maria Luigia from the drone

Casa Maria Luigia from the drone

Bottura dressed for farming at Casa Maria Luigia

Bottura dressed for farming at Casa Maria Luigia

UNDER ONE ROOF. Behind the chef, Jessica Rosval (Canada), Takahiko Kondo (Japan) and Choi Jongho (Taiwan)

UNDER ONE ROOF. Behind the chef, Jessica Rosval (Canada), Takahiko Kondo (Japan) and Choi Jongho (Taiwan)

A close-up of the A Day in the life bread

A close-up of the A Day in the life bread

«In those three months», he continues, «I believe I have worked more than I did before. I created Kitchen Quarantine and planned the future, we kept our team safe in their flats, prepared the late-spring opening of Francescana with all the possible safety measures, even those that were not necessary. We started with an incredible energy. In the days between the two closures, we didn't lose a single table, and this was thanks to each one of us and to the reputation we built over 25 years».

A quarter of a century, quite a milestone. «Here at Maria Luigia we've already created a celebratory menu. While we dedicate Sundays to a galactic grilled-based brunch what with fire and smoke, from Wednesday to Sunday we have fun replicating Francescana's most emblematic dishes – while the menu in Via Stella continues to be very current. Compression of pasta and beans, The crispy part of lasagne, Oops I dropped the lemon tart, Five ages of parmigiano reggiano… The summary of our saga».

Before getting to the heart of the lesson, there's time for one last question from Marchi: «When we'll leave the chaos behind, do you think people will be more selfish or helpful?». «Every day», Bottura replies, «I receive hundreds of messages from all around the world. We all feel the need to help the young generations, which I find are going through a very rough time. In Italy we risk losing the identitary pillars of our country, the dream of many to have a small family run business. We are good at handling the irrational, but we find it harder to manage everyday life. It's our greatest limit, but it's also an expression of the strength that allows us to keep going on». A desire that unfortunately is not supported by politics: «In France, a country in which gastronomy has always been treasured, closed restaurant will be reimbursed at 100%; in Germany at 75%. And in Italy? Who's thinking of us?». This is the only (sacrosanct) polemic touch during the masterclass, that now takes wing.

THE LESSON. The images change and move to the heart of the kitchen. The chef is surrounded by all the chefs who represent Osteria FrancescanaCasa Maria LuigiaFranceschetta 58Osteria Gucci FirenzeOsteria Gucci Los AngelesTorno Subito in Dubai… «KarimeVinceJessicaDavideTakaAllenChoi… this is our family, the people who have given a meaning to this year's menu at Francescana. My friends are my team». This is the premise behind the dishes taken from With a little help from my friends, perhaps the menu of which the more has been said in Italy between the two lockdowns (we wrote about it here). With an important update: the summer menu has become an autumn one, a discontinuity-continuity which Bottura and his team reproduce in detail in as many as 9 steps.

Cod If I’m wrong I’m right, autumn version 

Cod If I’m wrong I’m right, autumn version 

Snails in red mole

Snails in red mole

The snail that wanted to become a caracol 

The snail that wanted to become a caracol 

Lovely Rita Sweetbreads

Lovely Rita Sweetbreads

Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore

Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore

Which are: A Day in the life (millefoglie of knotted bread, finished with “fruity” honey from Casa Maria Luigia), Yellow submarine (Italian style fish and chips, with fried potatoes and turbot), If I’m wrong I’m right (cod with green and red curry topped with leaves of Jerusalem artichoke peel), Strawberry fields forever (a risotto that recalls the strawberries and champagne from the Eighties, but with Lambrusco replacing the champagne and the sweetness of the prawns from Mazara), Strawberry fields but not forever (the autumn evolution of the previous recipe, that is to say rice cooked with the juice of fox grapes, with a deer and pigeon ragù and herbs, «almost a dessert»), the Snail that wanted to become a caracol (corn tostada with herbs, and with red and green mole on top snails), Lovely Rita (sweetbreads with cream of plums and smoked pepper, with a boiling broth served in a jug on the side), the now legendary We are all connected under one roof dumplings (we wrote about it here) and In the sky without Lucy (millefoglie of leaves, with chestnut, pumpkin, hazelnuts, truffles, mushrooms, and a grey and cold cloud of candyfloss).

«Every dish is better than the other, trust me», the chef points out with the enthusiasm for which he's famous. The natural consequence of an admonishment he repeats multiple times during the recording: «Remember, never put out the fire of creativity». A necessary condition to overcome the quicksand.

To register in IDENTITA' ON THE ROAD 2020, click here (for info: iscrizioni@identitagolose.it or call +390248011841, ext. 2215)

Translated by Slawka G. Scarso 


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