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About Massimo Bottura

The world renowned chef Massimo Bottura has accepted Lateral Event’s invitation to collaborate in a ground-breaking public show to be toured in theatres across Australia in August 2019.

The charisma, energy, charm, boundless creativity and determination to challenge are reasons enough for Massimo Bottura to be the world’s most in-demand chef. His restaurant, Osteria Francescana, has three Michelin stars and ranks number one on this year’s list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. It’s located in Northern Italy in his hometown city called Modena, where the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti was born.

Massimo is known also from the Netflix original series, Chef’s Table. He pulls traditional Italian dishes apart, mines his memories and presents the familiar in unfamiliar ways. Audiences see hallmarks of Italian cuisine – tortellini, lasagne, risotto – but in completely new forms. On the plate they look like canvases of abstract expressionist painters.

Massimo Bottura is famous in the culinary world for telling the story of his childhood and life in Italy through his cooking, expressing themes of art, history, family, music and more. He is described as “poet, storyteller and artist as much as a cook”.

His culinary creations are rooted in the traditions of Northern Italy and his hometown, an ancient city of narrow streets and grand piazzas where they’ve been making parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar the same way for centuries. It’s where Bottura’s love of food began when he was just a little boy, hiding under the kitchen table. Massimo said, “I remember my grandmother was rolling pasta. In the meantime, what I was doing I was stealing the tortellini from under the table and eating it raw.”

Massimo’s love of art and music are evident in all he does. With the help of international artists and designers, he has whipped up support to feed thousands of the less privileged through his drop-in dining halls, elevated soup kitchens conceived to restore the mental and physical well-being of the food-insecure through contemporary design, inspired cooking, and thoughtful table service.

What is less known is the fact that the Italian chef also founded the non-profit association Food for Soul to empower communities to fight food waste and social isolation, with thoughtfully designed community kitchens called Refettorio in Milan, Rio de Janeiro, London and Paris. Refettorio comes from the Latin reficere, meaning ‘to re-make’, and also ‘to restore’. More than just providing a warm meal to those in need, Refettorios are hubs for social inclusion, enriched with art and beauty, where the whole community can gather, be empowered and inspired. This is essential work in a world where one-third of the food we produce is thrown away and over 800 million people are undernourished.

“Chefs today are influencers, and therefore they have a responsibility to help their communities grow and become more sustainable. Part of this growth is the fight against food waste and hunger”, says Massimo. “It’s time for us to go outside our kitchens and listen to our communities, to give back what we have learned in years of hard work, sacrifice, but also satisfactions and rewards. We chefs are as responsible as everyone else to make the difference, and we have to do it now. Not tomorrow, not within a couple of months. Cooking is a call to act”.