We've seen the reactions of chefs and trade associations to the new decree announced in Italy on 25 October. Now Massimo Bottura has written an open letter to the government, in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Following the decree, the chef decided to open Osteria Francescana in Modena for lunch on Mondays (and therefore opening every day of the week), while Gucci Osteria in Florence will open for lunch with a longer service, until 3.30 pm. His Franceschetta 58 in Modena, will have a double shift on Saturdays and Sundays, with the introduction of a weekend snack from 16.00 to 18.00. Bottura's Modena bistro will also be back soon with another pop-up delivery.
Here, below, is Massimo Bottura's open letter to prime minister Giuseppe Conte, with his five ideas to save Italian restaurants.
"I ask myself: who are we? I believe that today a restaurant in Italy is worth a Renaissance workshop: we make culture, we are ambassadors of agriculture, we are the engine of gastronomic tourism, we train, and now we have started a 'humanistic' culinary revolution that involves the social. Hospitality and catering, art and architecture, design and light are the main axes of our identity. In the last five years over 80 B&Bs have been born in Modena, thanks to a micro restaurant such as Osteria Francescana. Gastronomic tourism was born where thousands of families, couples, friends, spend two or three days, around Emilia, discovering and celebrating the territories and their heroes: farmers, farmhouses, artisans, and fishermen.
Focusing on catering today, few have liquidity, indeed, today more than ever we feel alone. We closed in March and you asked us to reopen after three months in accordance with the rules. We did. Many have borrowed to comply: masks, gels, temperature scanners, saturimeters, air sanitisation, tests for all staff, alternating entrances, spaced tables.
In order to emerge from this unprecedented crisis, we need hope and confidence. Hope is what keeps us active and proactive. Trust is believing in the personal potential of others.
The main strength that has always supported us is the dream, not the gain. Today, without liquidity, because many continue to dream with their daily takings, many will not make it and the country will lose one of the pillars of its identity.
The lack of cash leads first of all to the non-payment of salaries, then of suppliers, mortgage instalments, and finally, rent. We need a signal that gives us confidence.
Now you risk a depression. Now we need courage and stimuli. To find the will to continue and not feel alone.
In concrete terms we need:
1. Evening closing at 11 pm, at least.
2. Liquidity as a parameter of turnover.
3. Cassa integrazione (a special public fund used to protect workers' income), at least until the stabilisation of European tourism.
4. Not paying contributions in 2021, since it's already been fulfilled in 2020.
5. Lowering the VAT rate to 4% for next year.
Politics is about courage and dreams. It's similar to poetry. It's made up of imagination and the future.
Politics must make the invisible visible."