Italian chef Massimo Bottura has been awarded the title of European chef of the year at Madrid Fusion 2016 for his work at Refettorio Ambrosiano, the soup kitchen he created on the occasion of the Milan Expo last year.
The Italian chef may be known for his avant-garde cuisine at the award winning restaurant Osteria Francescana, which is ranked second in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. But, the award was not won for his creative cooking at his restaurant, but rather for a more noble project, one which has seen him create a ‘soup kitchen’ to feed Milan’s poor during the Milan Expo.
Bottura received the award, sponsored by Silestone, during the Madrid Fusion even held earlier this week.
The Italian chef used the theme of the Milan Expo ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ and created, together with Caritas, a soup kitchen which served food to children and Milan’s poor. He managed to raise awareness on the issue of food waste by using food that would be otherwise thrown away at the soup kitchen. He also invited some of the world’s best chefs to help raise awareness and show what can be done with food that would otherwise be thrown away.
He also demonstrated to chefs and people in the food industry that they should walk the talk and lead by example.
What was interesting about the Refettorio Ambrosiano project was not the charitable act of feeding the homeless but rather the demonstration that in general we waste too much and that food that is normally thrown away can be used to create delicious meals.
He managed to attract the likes of Ferran and Albert Adria, Alain Ducasse, Mauro Colagreco, Daniel Humm and many other top chefs from around the world and they created dishes which would have been fit for the best restaurants in the world.
One such dish which Massimo Bottura invented for the occasion was ‘Bread is gold’ using stale bread as a vehicle for this dessert which was also served at his three Michelin star restaurant.
And while Osteria Francescana is one of the most creative restaurants in the world, he also used that creativity to challenge traditions at Refettorio Ambrosiano.
Bottura has led by example. It is now up to each and everyone to follow suit and try and waste less. We are all culprits for buying more food than we need or for refusing to buy certain cuts of meat or vegetables. In this day and age, we should think twice and follow this chef’s example.
Well done Massimo for a well-deserved award.