IG2022: the future is now


Massimo Bottura: «We must love the future. The future is a state of mind»

The chef from Francescana takes us on a tour of Italy. Final destination: the future - a united, unique Italy, without borders, where every end is the seed of a new beginning

Massimo Bottura on the stage of Identità Milano

Massimo Bottura on the stage of Identità Milano 2022 with the team from the Francescana Family. All photos from Brambilla/Serrani

We're talking and at this very moment, what was the future, is already in the past. The world has just turned upside down. You can only look at it from its outline, through the memories of what you already know. It's right, you cannot erase it, but before a new day begins and appears in front of you, perhaps in a dish, focus on the flavours, make them yours and you will see a world that appears, that is similar to something, but its soul, its substance is something completely different.

Knowledge is what you see, what you know, but conscience is about tasting without borders, without preconceptions. It's a world in which you don't need to point out whether a chef is a man or a woman, it's enough that they are a person of talent; a world in which the opening of a Refettorio is no longer the news, but where ideas spread in every corner of the world, so that food is not wasted and lives aren't spoiled under the weight of an unequal distribution of resources. Where those who come from a distant country can welcome the future in their womb, and be born again in the kitchen, like the women of Roots, migrant single mothers, and cooks who offer new stimuli for our cuisine, and the opportunity to eat the bread of diversity, the most undervalued richness. A world in which Il Tortellante has larger and larger spaces, more and more grandmothers and young people in the Autistic spectrum who will continue the tradition together, letting knowledge pass through the hands of one another. Seeds, fertile soil, and the harvest to come. We should never stop planting. A world in which you cannot avoid talking about sense of responsibility because Massimo is a man, a husband and a father, he's Osteria Francescana with the team around him – a family -, but he's also an Ambassador for the UN and, as such, he's called to be a role model of change, a voice for all who want to listen.

Now, if we want to experience the future, whether that witness is Massimo or anyone else, we need to risk because the future doesn't happen by chance. It is the result of our daily life, of the substance in our choices. Some see a glass half full, some prefer to hide under a table and draw their sunny perspective from there. And perhaps you will find yourself in the street, without really knowing what's going on, but of one thing you will be sure: the point you hope and believe you'll reach.

Today the point of arrival is Italy. An Italy that no longer has a centre, south and north, but is a whole, united. Our country. So recognisable thanks to its art, light of the Renaissance, crazy and brilliant entrepreneurship, an Italy made of travellers who, on top of knowing where to go, always know where to return. Home, which means food. What can we do for Italy? Fall in love with it, again, fall madly in love with our country.

And Massimo Bottura renews this pact of love bringing Italy right there, on his table. But let's take one step back. For every menu that arrives, there's one that goes and With a little help of my friends celebrated the past, with sincere tributes: guests ate dishes from all of Massimo's friends, cooks from the past and from the present too, from all the Francesca Family, the team at Osteria, who were also fed with this culture, nourished and prepared for the future. Dining room and kitchen, kitchen and dining room because all the messages that are prepared in the kitchen are then told and passed onto the guests. The finale, in this case, is a tribute to Osteria Francescana, Camouflage, an aesthetic expression of culture, a dream, an unexpected meeting, an image in which it is possible to see everything. Picasso would see cubism in a tank. Well, in that end there's already a new beginning and in the same way as musician John Coltrane was obsessed with the end of all his pieces, Massimo Bottura is seduced by what he must close, end. He cannot just put a full stop, he must introduce a new future, cook food for the soul: so that new worlds unfold.

The cover of Massimo Bottura's book Vieni in Italia con me, which is also the name of the menu at Osteria Francescana

The cover of Massimo Bottura's book Vieni in Italia con me, which is also the name of the menu at Osteria Francescana

A world of future, completely Italian, in which every dish is a premise, a door, a window on the unexpected. It's a great village feast to which we're all invited. Fifteen years have gone by since his book Vieni in Italia con me was first published: a mosaic without interruptions of cheese producers, breeders, shepherds, farmers, all Italian and all extraordinary. And now, the journey continues: it's pure poetry, a raw material that blossoms without letting points of reference make it heavier; a critical analysis of flavours, present, alive, pulsating, only that ingredients do not reveal themselves as they are, but are linked with our mental palate. This is image and likeness. You see something and eat something else.

As with the babà, which absorbs the tomato, horseradish, caper, lemon zest, celery cream: it shows itself in the shape of an Italian Bloody Mary. On the table of Francescana it will be Christmas all year long with Panettone cotechino e lenticchie which his grandmother, a little “lofi” – not very gifted for cooking – would prepare on the morning of the 25th of December to compensate for the low quality of the everyday food. A menu that summons the working class heroes, sardines, a hint to Romagna, but also the rind of Parmigiano. From Parmigiano alla Parmigiana, the one that in Teano Garibaldi apparently gave to the King of Sardinia Vittorio Emanuele II, who thanked him with a kind gift of rice. This would be the input for Risotto come una parmigiana di Melanzane, crowned by the scents, by the flavours of our childhood which can be the represented by crispy edge of the parmigiana, as well as that of lasagne. Warm, slightly burnt, tasty memory.

We reach the end, soft, free, so much that Think Green, ex-ouverture, is now a completely different pre-dessert. 

Immagine e somiglianza: the emblem dish of Identità Milano 2022, Quasi uno spaghetto al pomodoro. Quasi, almost because in fact the tomato-effect comes from a water of peppers and black cherries. The base is made with Sicilian almonds and it has a heart of herbs; on top of the spaghetti, the grated almonds, powdered capers and almond milk

Immagine e somiglianza: the emblem dish of Identità Milano 2022Quasi uno spaghetto al pomodoro. Quasi, almost because in fact the tomato-effect comes from a water of peppers and black cherries. The base is made with Sicilian almonds and it has a heart of herbs; on top of the spaghetti, the grated almonds, powdered capers and almond milk

Right after this, Spaghetto, the emblem chosen for this edition of Identità Milano: welcome on board the magic bus. An extract of red peppers; then, water of cherries from Modena as a reference to Emilia; then we go south to Gragnano or Pedrazzo, what's important is that these are spaghetti, good spaghetti, in fact spaghettini, and further to Sicily. We reach Noto to pick the almonds and then we cross the sea to Pantelleria for its capers, pearls of salinity. Here's a portrait of Italy, all of it, united. But there's more. It's the moment of obsession, the finale, Coltrane: and so, going beyond the borders of sweet and savoury, here is a macaron of liver alla venezianaa salad in a gold capsule with wild herbs from Casa Maria Luigia, and a cannolo di Carbonara. But, Oops! Ci siamo dimenticati la caprese: omnipresent on every Italian menu, this is the return of Sgt. Pepper - Strawberry Fields... but not forever, today in the shape of tomatoes. Still plenty to think...

And now the Future: you cannot live it, you cannot dream it. You can build it, prepare it day by day. Should we attack it? Avoid it? Fight it? Not at all. Let's love it, with courage. We cannot anticipate it. But we must dream it, and it is thus, that it becomes a place, a place for the soul. A fellow traveller.

The Future is many things. The future is a state of mind.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

IG2022: the future is now

Marialuisa Iannuzzi


Marialuisa Iannuzzi

Born in Irpinia in 1991, she studied Foreign Languages at university, and then International Studies. But then she followed her heart and so her love for hospitality was born in the New Forest (U.K.). Her love for food had always been alive and kicking.  After manging the hospitality at Identità Golose Milano, today she reports on flavours for Identità Golose. Isa travels, and tastes. She keeps her sensations alive through words.

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