Niki Pavanelli, chef from Bologna working at Italian restaurant Il Bocconcino, inside the Royal Hideaway Resort in Tenerife and Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana in Modena, the protagonists of two dinners on the 25th and 26th of June
What a pleasure to land at the airport in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the most popular island of the Canaries, an archipelago with a fabulous climate all year round (the high season is not now but in the winter, with an average temperature of 20°C), significant natural beauties (volcano Teide with its natural park and a fauna of endemic species that has no equal in Europe) and 4 of the 7 Michelin stars of the archipelago.
The occasion was an invitation made to Massimo Bottura and the Francescana Family by Niki Pavanelli, cook from Bologna, for 15 years now in Spain, at the helm of a restaurant of “progressive Italian cuisine” called Il Bocconcino. It is one of the 5 restaurants making the rich offer of the Royal Hideaway Resort, a 5 star luxury hotel from group Barcelò, conceived in 2018 by architect Leonardo Omar. A resort shaped as a boat, with 114 apartments, inspired by the design of the corals around the island. «Our goal?», said Pavanelli without hesitation, «to deserve one Michelin star with a restaurant serving 100% Italian cuisine. It’s incredible that there is none to this day, in all of Spain».
For a few years now, the Royal Hideaway has been the location for the Inspirational Chef Program, a small gastronomic festival which over time has attracted important chefs like Ana Ros, Diego Guerrero or the Torres brothers. Bottura stole the scene, firstly with two splendid dinners facing the sea: the tasting menu (sold-out, of course) mixed iconic dishes from Francescana (The crispy part of lasagna, Think green, Veal spin painted) with new and brand new dishes (Sea Salad, Pasta with abstract pesto).
In between the two meals, there was a highly acclaimed talk from the chef from Modena, based on a repertoire we know well. An inspirational talk for local cooks and entrepreneurs: «Our restaurants are renaissance ateliers; we must become ambassadors of all the silent heroes of the territory, which we are not ourselves, but the farmers, fishermen, vintners and all the people who fight to produce their gems. And it’s like this that you can do good around you. Growing all together, like the 92 B&Bs that now surround Francescana in Modena. Here in Tenerife you have all it takes to make that leap: incredible seafood like carabineiros, vegetables, vineyards and fruits you cannot find elsewhere in Europe».
And then came a closing statement to describe the uniqueness of the Francescana universe: the meaning of the artworks in Via Stella, the microclimates that make the uniqueness of our country, the civilizations around river Po, the food valley in Modena which joins slow food and fast cars. The invitation of Joseph Beuys to «keep the light of creativity each day».
The genesis of the latest splendid menus at Osteria Francescana («At the beginning of the brain storming sessions, I asked all my team to try to think again as they did in their childhood). And the crucial importance of human capital, «Which is always, and will always be the foundation of the success of any business that wants to do good». Important concepts that made their way through the adoring audience.
The view from the suite on the 4th floor of the Royal Hideaway Resort in Tenerife, 5-star luxury hotel opened in 2018 in La Caleta ad Adeje, on Tenerife
The Resort includes two restaurants called Il Bocconcino, the fine dining “progressive Italian cuisine” restaurant, and the more traditional Trattoria. It also includes a gourmet restaurant called El Rincòn de Juan Carlos (the longest-standing Michelin star in the archipelago), nikkei restaurant San Ho and seafood restaurant Starfish
Sea Salad, a highlight of the 2022 menu at Francescana: it includes and emulsion of oysters and clams, broad beans and peas, cucumber water and caviar
The crispy part of lasagna, a famous dish from Massimo Bottura. The New York Times presented it in a signature short film
The pillars in the kitchen of Bocconcino in Tenerife: left to right, Riccardo Della Bella, Niki Pavanelli and Donato Pisani
A detail of the superb breakfast at the Royal Hideway Resort. A specialty among specialties, jamon iberico – which you’d almost like to dip in the cappuccino
Massimo Bottura during his inspirational talk, with the slide summing up the current menu at Osteria Francescana
The plantain plants at environmentally friendly finca La Calabacera: no pesticides, reuse of dry leaves, for extraordinary raw materials which, after the tasting, make it difficult to go back to the bananas we’re used to. Fresh plantain but also fermented up to 5 years, similar in taste to liquorice. It was the English who imported this fruit to the Canaries from Latin America
The position, facing the sea, of the finca La Calabacera. On the horizon, volcano La Gomera
The teams from Francescana and Bocconcino together at the entrance of Calabacera
Marco Antonio Delgado Garcia and Yoni Mesa, two pillars at cocktail bar Maresia, on the last floor of Resort Royal Hideaway. Their careful research results in many cocktails with 100% local ingredients, like the very good Vitamin Sea, with white vermouth, rum in macerated sage, juice of passion fruit and aloe vera, cordial of rosemary, lime, ginger and rosemary essence. The archipelago produces spirits, from rum to vodka and gin. Traditionally, these islands offered a stop to pirates crossing the oceans
The infinity pool next to cocktail bar Maresia
San Ho, a Vietnamese name for the nikkei-canarias cuisine of Adrián Bosch, Eduardo Domínguez and Daniel Rozada
San Ho’s ramen. The "spaghetti" is made with a dough of potatoes squeezed on the table with a sac-à-poche
The Francescana Family on the club car of the Royal Hideway: behind Massimo Bottura, Stefano Ghironi (Francescana), Francesco Vincenzi (Franceschetta 58), Ale Thea Ruckert (Francescana, brasiliana) and Jessica Rosval (Casa Maria Luigia, Canadian)
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso
Reviews, recommendations and trends from the four corners of the planet, signed by all the authors of Identità Golose
born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, coordinator of Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook since 2007, he is a contributor for several magazines and teaches History of gastronomy and Culinary global trends into universities and institutes.
Il nuovo menu dell'Osteria Francescana, denominato I’m not there, è una nuova interpretazione di piatti classici del ristorante modenese. Tutte le foto sono di Paolo Terzi
On stage in the Auditorium, Paolo Marchi and Gabriele Zanatta (who moderated the talk) together with the protagonists of Identità Talk: Giorgio Locatelli, Massimo Bottura, Brian McGinn and, remotely, David Gelb. All photos are by Brambilla-Serrani.
Carlo Cracco, Alberto Gipponi, Enrico Bartolini, Andrea Aprea, Massimo Bottura on Wednesday morning at the Hub of Identità Golose Milano at the preview of the Identità Milano congress, which will take place from 28th to 30th January 2023 at MiCo in Via Gattamelata (photo Brambilla/Serrani)