Massimo Bottura, the chef at the helm of Osteria Francescana, the world’s best restaurant, was this evening honoured with an honorary degree in Management from the University of Bologna.
Bottura got the degree for setting an example by merging entrepreneurship, culture and technique and that helps to spread Italian culture worldwide.
The Modena based chef, who has three Michelin stars and is number one in the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list has also set up the Refettorio Ambrosiano during the Milan Expo. Since then he has opened refectories to feed the world’s poor in various cities including Rio. In summer, a soup kitchen will open in London in the Chelsea area and he also has plans to open one in Berlin.
Bottura belives that chefs can make a difference today because they have a voice unlike in the past. An honorary degree to a chef is not common but Bottura says that even Harvard have studied the way they work in the restaurant.
The restaurant today receives 2,000 requests for internships and the cooks who go there learn about seasonality, the region, how to make Parmigiano Reggiano, culatello, aceto balsamico. They absorb lessons in sustainability, how to deal with waste and how to respect the work of farmers.
The recognition Bottura received today is not only a victory for this talented chef but also his wife but also his team.
The Italian chef could have easily been a poet or an artist. He says creating a recipe is an intellectual gesture that involves ingredients, technique, memory and the compression of everything in bites of edible culture. He uses food as his medium for creativity and the palate to transmit emotions.
“In a world of obligation, you can lose your point of reference. The secret is to keep a small space open for poetry, to be able to jump into that space and realise the unimaginable. This is what it means to make visible the invisible,” he says.