Andoni Luis Aduriz and many other reasons to remember Bob Noto

During Buonissima, the Basque chef was given the first award dedicated to the Torinese creative and gastronomist. An opportunity to recall his stature and irreverence

05-11-2021
Andoni Luis Aduriz, chef-patron at restaurant Muga

Andoni Luis Aduriz, chef-patron at restaurant Mugaritz, in the Basque country, winner of the first edition of the Premio Bob Noto, given a few days ago on the occasion of Buonissima (photo: Andrea Guermani per Lavazza)

The 2021 edition of Buonissima Torino, 5 days of “food, art and creativity”, ended on Sunday the 31st of October, with “top” and “pop” events – to use two terms beloved by artistic directors Stefano CavallitoLuca Iaccarino and Matteo Baronetto – who livened up with fine food, important protagonists from around the world and bright ideas the capital of Piedmont.

One of the most important moments of the rich programme – a fully booked concentrate of fine and popular dinners, of good food and art in the piole, signature breakfasts, art shows, parties and crowded bistronomy events – was the first edition of the Premio Bob Noto, a giant of gastronomy and creativity from Torino, who died at the age of 61.

An important acknowledgement whose creation was summed up by Iaccarino himself: «The idea of a tribute to this great figure of Torino's culture and creativity», the food reporter and writer recalls, «came in 2017, when he passed away. In 2018 his great friend Marco Bolasco organised an exhibition called ‘Ante Instagram: Bob Noto’ at Lavazza's Nuvola. With his partner Antonella Fassio we started to think of an award dedicated to him around a year and a half ago. And Buonissima, with the presence of Ferran and Albert Adrià, his close friends, seemed to us like the perfect occasion».

Judges and protagonists of the Premio Bob Noto

Judges and protagonists of the Premio Bob Noto

The audience at the Nuvola Lavazza

The audience at the Nuvola Lavazza

It's Antonella who decides every detail of the award. Starting from the judges: on top of the event's 3 artistic directors, of Ferran Adrià and Marco Bolasco, this year there were Sara Peirone of Lavazza, chef Davide Scabin (who was always very close with Bob Noto) and young Paolo Griffa, «A cook who was Bob's latest passion», Antonella revealed. And she also has the last word, especially in terms of choosing the winner, who will be awarded every year for the coherence with one of Bob's most important features.

This year's feature was irreverence and the award was fully deserved by the most iconoclast chef of our times, Basque Andoni Luis Aduriz, at the helm of Mugaritz, in Errenteria, near San Sebastian. «Andoni», according to the official motivation read by Giuseppe Lavazza, who gave the winner a small statue of Bob, with a slice of ham in his pochette, an unforgettable emblem of Bob, «has turned avantgarde into a way of approaching life; his priority has been to open different roads, so that other chefs can aim, without hesitation, to overcome the borders of the culinary experience». Touched applauses, highlighted by the words that the winning chef dedicated to the Torinese on his instagram account shortly later: «Bob taught us to look, to read dishes with an unprecedented intelligence. As an apprentice at elBulli, I saw him walk into the kitchen with Antonella, whom Bob considered the real expert. His collection of photographs left a precious testimony of the claims made by culinary avantgarde. Those images are an exercise within the exercise. How proud we were to have Bob in the kitchen, whispering to add a pinch of extra salt, or cooking a main course a few seconds less. Thank you from the bottom of my heart».

Massimo Bottura, Andoni, Albert and Ferran Adrià

Massimo Bottura, Andoni, Albert and Ferran Adrià

The statue of Bob Noto, with the famous slice of prosciutto in the pochette

The statue of Bob Noto, with the famous slice of prosciutto in the pochette

The motivation of the award stimulated a series of fun and desecrating anecdotes. Antonella recalled that day when the Alajmos decided to take off the tablecloths at Le Calandre. «Bob arrived in Sarmeola wearing jacket and tie, but no shirt». Everyone laughed to tears. Ferran Adria, a great friend of his, gave a beautiful speech: «He was the best client and had the best palate in the world. But today I suspect that the finest palate was in fact that of Antonella. And that Bob tricked us for 30 years», he added with a smile. During the great dinner event closing the festival, the most influential chef of the last 30 years prepared, after a long time, his famous tortilla con trufa blanca, and dedicated it to Noto.

Marco Bolasco added: «Noto had a very important role of collector. Many people who are here with us today owe this to Bob». Matteo Baronetto: «When I was a young cook, Bob was a real point of reference. Today we miss people who help you grow with their intelligent advice».

Antonella Fassio

Antonella Fassio

See you next year: «We would like to dedicate even more time and resources to this award», says Luca Iaccarino, «To honour even more the memory of this great figure in Torinese and Italian gastronomy».

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso