Massimo Bottura by Paolo Terzi
Massimo Bottura by Paolo Terzi

Phaidon Outtakes #1 Massimo Bottura on Picasso

Our Skinny Italian Chef tells a strange tale involving the painter, hare blood and Gertrude Stein

Have you heard about the time Picasso and the writer Gertrude Stein came across a camouflage truck? According to Stein’s 1938 book, she and the artist watched a very early example of a camouflaged vehicle drive along Boulevard Raspail in Paris one night in 1914. “Picasso watched it pass with amazement,” Stein wrote, “then cried out, ‘Yes, we were the ones who invented that. That is Cubism.’”

The chef and Phaidon author Massimo Bottura relates the anecdote when describing the development of his recipe, Camouflage: Hare in the Woods.  This desert, which combines a medieval blood dish, civet of hare, with chocolate, and aromatic herbs, hides these antique elements on a bed of artfully arranged vegetable-root powders and aromatic herbs. 

 

Bottura Camo

As Bottura explains in this little video outtake, the first in a new series of Phaidon clips, part of the thrill of the dish lies in its unexpected tastes. Take a bite of the traditional almond cake hidden somewhere on the plate, and you remain calm; hit upon the chocolate or hare-blood sauce, and, as the chef puts it, “that’s it, the dinner is over!” - though in a good way, of course. 

 

 Camouflage: Hare in the Woods by Massimo Bottura from Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef
Camouflage: Hare in the Woods by Massimo Bottura from Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef

Watch this minute-long clip for a tasty, albeit brief, look at how one of the world’s greatest chefs works both history and artistry into his dishes. And if you like what you see buy a copy of his book, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef, here.