“It’s the evolution of my ideas, food, art, music. Through passion I transfer emotion - maybe the book at the end is actually about emotion?”. With these words famed Italian chef Massimo Bottura explained his new book Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef written by the chef with the support of his wife Lara T Gilmore and set to be published by Phaidon on October 6th 2014.
Charting the work of Bottura at his world famous Osteria Francescana restaurant in Modena, the book is a journey he has undertaken on and off the plate since opening in 1995 and tries to provide insight into the many factors that influence creativity inside his kitchen. He added that the book will also offer inside into ‘the structure of creativity’. “What creativity is for me? my inspirations and where they come from - all the things we really care about.”
The book will be delivered in four chapters, each one about a specific period in time from the chef’s 25 year career, a career that’s seen him rise to the very top of Italian gastronomy with a three Michelin-starred restaurant that sits in 3rd position on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List. On top of texts explaining Bottura’s inspiration, ingredient choices and interesting kitchen techniques, the book will feature 50 recipes from the chef.
An avid fan of the arts, especially music, Bottura has constantly drawn inspiration by surrounding himself by paintings, books and a music room packed with vinyl. As the chef summarises: “It’s a compression of food, art, music and literature - everything together. A compression of how Lara writes, how I cook, how art is involved in all of this.”
Bottura says in the book, “There are three things that can’t be tampered with in Italy: soccer, the Pope and your grandmother’s recipes... The Italian kitchen offers many opportunities to repeat our grandmother’s recipes, but far too few to unleash them.”
Bottura is the first to point out that it's far from the classic cookbook, explaining that pictures have been taken by two artistic photographers, Stefano Graziani and Carlo Benvenuto, who helped to capture and express the everyday life of the team at the restaurant. “They’re very poetic photographs of me and my whole team - I always said that Osteria Francescana is all about the team…I think the book expresses this well.”
Commenting on Bottura and the chef's first book, Chef Mario Batali said: “Massimo Bottura is the Jimi Hendrix of Italian chefs . . . he takes familiar dishes and classical flavors and techniques and turns them on their heads in a way that is innovative, boundary-breaking, sky kissing, and entirely whimsical.”
Bottura promises the book will add context to the work he’s been doing, revealing how different period, times and techniques all exist on the same timeline. “It will start with tradition, then to avant-garde, our mind, the evolution of provocation - all the things we are living in everyday life - finally arriving at Come to Italy With Me which is like coming back to where we were at the start, but focusing on the whole of Italy through the avant grade mind.”
The book is published by Phaidon and is available to pre-order now.