MODENA: There has never been a better time to eat at Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana. The restaurant has been full since its reopening after the three months lockdown but the Italian chef has never experienced so much volatility in restaurant bookings in his professional life.
From his home kitchen in Modena, Italian chef Massimo Bottura announced he was taking Osteria Francescana al fresco at the family’s boutique hotel Casa Maria Luigia. He also announced an April opening of Gucci Osteria, in Ginza, Tokyo and a new restaurant in collaboration with Ferrari in front of the company’s factory in Maranello.
The COVID-19 crisis may have hit the restaurant industry hard but Massimo Bottura was in fine form passionately explaining his new projects and speaking about the difficulties of reopening Osteria Francescana despite a highly acclaimed menu ‘With a little help from my friends’.
“We closed the restaurant before the lockdown because we wanted to ensure that the team was safe and suddenly with the click of a button Modena became a red zone,” he said.
Cladding his signature jacket which made him world famous and a household name during his Instagram show Kitchen Quarantine, which he created together with his daughter Alexa, the Italian chef of one of the world’s most famous restaurants spoke of the volatility of opening the restaurant.
“We have not had an empty table over the past month but the volatility has been incredible,” he said.
“Many of our international guests have to fly to Bologna and Milan and realise that they cannot make it at the last minute so we are getting many last minute cancellations. June was all like this and the reservations team have been incredible to fill the tables,” he said.
A restaurant that at times had over 300,000 people waiting to clinch a table can now have tables available last minute.
Massimo Bottura was speaking during a masterclass organised by the Belgian Italian chamber of commerce, and the Italian chamber of commerce in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. It was part of an event called True Italian Taste (more about that in the coming days).
During the e-class, Massimo Bottura spoke about taking Osteria Francescana to Casa Maria Luigia, one of his and his wife’s (Lara Gilmore) latest projects. Over the coming months, Casa Maria Luigia which is his dream of telling the story of his life through art, music, nature and food will restaurant the dining experience with the Francescana team sharing the most classic dishes from the past 25 years.
The open-air restaurant will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with an open kitchen that allows customers to experience Bottura’s creations being made on shared tables al fresco.
On Sunday at Casa Maria Luigia they are also serving a brunch with everything cooked in a wood-fired oven.
He also announced that a third Gucci Osteria will open in the Ginza district of Tokyo following the success of his two other Osterias in Florence, Italy and Los Angeles.
And that’s not all. Bottura also said that during the lockdown he was in constant talks with the team at Ferrari on the opening of a new restaurant in Maranello just in front of the Ferrari factory.
“We are taking a restaurant in front of Ferrari and restoring it to its former glory. It was the place in the 1950s where Enzo Ferrari would sit every Sunday to watch the races. In February or March, we will be giving birth to a new myth and it will be possible to take a selfie from the restaurant with the Ferrari factory in the background,” the Italian chef said.
Maranello, the location of the Ferrari headquarters is just 16 kilometres away from Modena, where Bottura has his three Michelin starred restaurant.
During the e-class, the Italian chef also spoke of the three months of lockdown. He said one of the positive effects of the lockdown was work on the Casa Maria Luigia garden “We’ve grown salads, herbs, even various types of wheat. My wife has turned the garden into a dream come true for my team and I,” he said.
“I always say that in my future, there is always future,” he said.
Osteria Francescana’s new menu
Massimo also spoke about the new Beatles inspired menu which has had high media impact over the past few weeks. “There is no question that these three months have been difficult. As a team we worked and ensured that we stayed in contact throughout the lockdown. When we stopped crying there was a certain darkness and that is why we needed to show light. Our starting point was yellow because yellow symbolises light even in Renaissance paintings. And in these dark times, we need to bring a light to people through creativity,” he said.
He spoke of the importance of remaining positive saying it was important to forget the economic catastrophe that was brought about by the pandemic. “Today, more than ever a cook is not just someone with a great palate but he or she need to be an entrepreneur and a communicator.
More to follow in the coming days.