Massimo Bottura and Mario Batali create kitchen alchemy

Trash-bound ingredients take on a whole new life in the Skinny Italian chef's Bread is Gold book
Share
Mario Batali and Massimo Bottura in Bread is Gold
Mario Batali and Massimo Bottura in Bread is Gold

Massimo Bottura owes his career to Mario Batali. Before Bottura’s Osteria Francescana topped the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Bottura kept his restaurant going selling his family’s own small-batch balsamic vinegar – a business venture Batali first suggested to the Modena chef. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Mario,” says Massimo in his new book, Bread is Gold

This simple, clear-sighted view of the food market is typical of Batali. The talented Italian-American is a great chef, a likeable TV personality, a canny restaurateur, an astute businessman, a kind-hearted philanthropist, and an obvious kitchen guest for Refettorio Ambroisano, the haute-cuisine soup kitchen Bottura set up in 2015 to turn trash-bound ingredients into food for Milan’s poor.

 

Mario Batali in Bread is Gold
Mario Batali in Bread is Gold

In Bread is Gold, our new book about Massimo’s ongoing venture, Bottura recalls Batali telling him how, as a child, Mario would well up with joy when he saw the windows of his family home covered in mist, as this meant his mother had been cooking pasta for supper. “I love this image” says Massimo. “It is exactly the feeling that we wanted to create for our guests at the Refettorio: A place where there was something to look forward to at the end of a long day.”

 

Mario Batali's coq au vin, as featured in Bread is Gold
Mario Batali's coq au vin, as featured in Bread is Gold
 

On the day Mario came to cook, he certainly gave the diners that, turning five chickens into a vegetable-laden communal coq au vin, and even butchering the birds to make them go around a little further. The chef also whipped a couple of stale panettone into a marvellous almond bread pudding, and paired spare pasta with an innovative potato and tomato sauce.

The recipes were filling, healthy and inventive. “Two panettone became bread pudding for an army,” recalls Massimo, “five chickens ended up feeding over one hundred people, and there was pasta for second and third helpings.” There was even a little steam thrown in too, perhaps bringing a tear to Mario’s eye, and maybe some of the Refettorio’s guests too.

 

Mario Batali in Bread is Gold
Mario Batali in Bread is Gold
 

Check back soon for further tales of gastronomic alchemy courtesy of Massimo and his fellow world-famous chefs; you can read about the strawberry gazpacho Daniel Humm conjured out of food waste here; René Redzepi's burnt lime soup herecheck out the popcorn chicken recipe Alex Atala created here; and to recreate the recipes and learn more about the ideas behind the Refettorio order a copy of Bread is Gold here.

 

Bread is Gold by Massimo Bottura
Bread is Gold by Massimo Bottura


You May Also Like


Related





ABOUT PHAIDON

Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
Read more