Most chefs don’t get an audience with the Pope, but then again, most chefs don’t have ideas like Massimo Bottura. The charismatic Italian, who runs the three Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana restaurant in Modena, Italy, took the opportunity recently to present a tasty teaser of what we can expect from his upcoming project for the Expo 2015 in Milan. A collaborative idea that enlists the helps of chefs from Gaston Acurio to Ferran Adrià, David Chang to Rene Redzepi, the Italian government, the Vatican and Pope Francis himself.
Bottura, alongside a whole list of some of the world’s best chefs, will create a space in Milan to cook leftover ingredients from other countries pavilions. Speaking to diners at the recent Gelinaz! dinner at the Acqua Panna villa in Tuscany, Bottura explained the project and how he hopes to show the beauty of what can be done with ingredients destined for the trash.
He finished his informal presentation by showing off a beautiful plate made with a basis of leftover, stale bread. A dish inspired by his childhood memory of dipping bread and sugar in hot milk. A beautifully crispy base of caramelised croutons made with bread, milk and sugar, lifted by a dollop of gelato and finished with a sugar casing dusted with gold. “We are not rock stars, just chefs,” he said, “we can great something from nothing.”
The dinners, which will be reserved for students and the poor of Milan, will take place inside the Refettorio Ambrosiano - an old theatre connected to San Martino church in Milan. Bottura has enlisted the help of famous Italian designers and architects to help renovate the building, as well as local culinary schools, organisations and the Ministry of Environment.
The project will test the chefs taking part but show that technique and knowledge can be applied to elevate leftovers into wonderful dishes - perfect fit for the Expo Milano 215 theme of Feeding the Planet.