Name: Massimo Bottura
Home Restaurant: Osteria Francescana
Home Restaurant Location: Modena, Italy
Gelinaz! Shuffle Location: Secret
EVERYBODY LOVES GELINAZ! WHAT DO YOU LOVE BEST ABOUT IT?
I don’t know if I love Gelinaz.
For a chef it is risky to go into someone else’s kitchen. Don’t think for a minute that Gelinaz is about having fun or some kind of holiday. It is work. Hard work. Does anyone like to be out of his or her comfort zone?
On the other hand, I have always been a big supporter of cultural exchange and collisions. Gelinaz is a potential éclat. This is good for anyone, not only for a chef.
Entering another chef’s kitchen and working with an unfamiliar team is a great opportunity to reflect on the meaning of Hospitality, which as I often have to remind our eager young chefs, is what we do. When we begin to think we are more than cooks: Gelinaz is a reminder that we have a job to do – to provide healthy, tasty and memorable experiences to paying customers. Ours is a service business with no room for any mistake.
HOW WOULD YOU EXPRESS YOUR LAST YEAR’S EXPERIENCE IN 3 SENTENCES?
I loved cooking, food shopping, and working in New York City.
The experience brought me 20 years back to my job in Soho at Café di Nonna. But hands down the best part of it was working with the team at Ko. Cooking in front of our guests (most of them were at the counter top) was memorable and when I returned to Ko months later with Lara (this time on the other side of the counter) I had a completely new appreciation for the restaurant, the kitchen and the front of house staff. Hats off to all of them!
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST THIS YEAR?
Being in another metropolitan city, sharing the Osteria Francescana’s kitchen with a curious audience, and getting to know the staff I will encounter there. Often I wonder if the public realizes how much our job is about relationships – with artisan producers, with our team, and with our guests. Changing even one of these elements changes everything. That is what makes Gelinaz the addictive rollercoaster ride it is: an adrenaline high and a great relief when it’s over.
AND WHAT WOULD BE YOUR MESSAGE FOR THE CHEF WHO WILL COOK IN YOUR KITCHEN?
Soak up the fog and silences of autumn in Emilia, taste the incredible ingredients, and get to know the warmth of the people. Don’t forget to say “Hello” to the old ladies who every morning say “Buongiorno” on their way to the market.
From our end, we will go all out. Our team is looking forward to taking you to see as much of our world as you would like to see. Like any culture, there are layers of meaning hidden in the unexpected exchanges. I recommend visiting the market, eating in as many places as you can, visiting some of our producers, farmers and artisans. This way you can leave with more than you came with. Sean Brock really dug his teeth in and our team is still talking about the incredible experience they shared together.