The most recent recipient of first place in San Pellegrino’s list of the world's best 50 restaurants and awarded three Michelin stars, Osteria Francescana is located in Modena, Italy. This temple of gastronomy is under the direction of the virtuoso Massimo Bottura, the leading exponent of a new generation of Italian chefs.
Osteria Francescana has been considered the highest-ranking restaurant in Italy in recent years, and Bottura’s genius deserves a lot of the credit. The chef’s merits became evident when he published an autobiography revealing much of his philosophy and secrets from more than twenty years of culinary experience. Its title? Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef.
Recognized worldwide for his brilliance and professionalism, Bottura sources local ingredients from Emilia-Romagna for his creations. With a unique and personal conception of experimental and avant-garde techniques, many consider him a real artist.
The talented chef draws inspiration from nature and the world around him, crafting dishes that are very personal carrying evocative names: Branzino in infusione dei profumi del golfo di Sorrento (Bass in an infusion of fragrances from the Gulf of Sorrento); Reinterpretazione gave one scoglio (Reinterpretation of a rock) or Un capitoné risale il fiume Po (An eel returns to the river Po), among others.
Bottura's love for contemporary art is revealed by his collection of abstract paintings that adorn the walls of his restaurant, which has only twelve tables. At the Osteria Francescana, diners will be stimulated and carried away by the unexpected. Respect for the ingredients from local producers and artisans is at the heart of this culinary enterprise. Only the best Parmesan cheese or the rare and delicate balsamic vinegar from Modena will satisfy the chef.
His philosophy has a specific purpose: to allow his guests to experience a different view of life at Osteria Francescana, one where the Slow Food movement becomes a premise. As Massimo Bottura says: "Go fast, slowly."
A good way to appreciate Bottura`s versatile, modern and committed culinary art is through his tasting menus, with dishes that stand out for their clean, minimalist look and extreme conceptualism. The first menu is Tradizione in Evoluzione, which explores—from a contemporary perspective—the most sublime ingredients from Emilia-Romagna.
The second list is called Sensazioni, an invitation to experience an imaginary journey from the Sicilian island of Pantelleria to the Piedmont and from the Gulf of Naples to the Adriatic Sea, following the traditions, ingredients and folklore of the authentic and unmistakable Italian cuisine. ■
PHOTOS: © Paolo Terzi.
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