10 Things Massimo Bottura told The Arts Club of Chicago
Inspirational soundbites served up with snacks from Alex Atala and Daniel Humm at our Skinny Chef's talk
The well-heeled patrons and members of the Arts Club of Chicago are used to nibbling on high class finger food in genteel surroundings - Calder mobiles and the occasional Brancusi provide a pleasing backdrop. But at the weekend they welcomed our skinny Italian chef Massimo Bottura into their midst, enjoyed a buffet brunch, created from the recipes in his new book Bread Is Gold, and were generally enthused by a passionate speech he gave on food waste and his food for soul project.
Many of them had never heard of Massimo before the talk but, judging by the questions they asked, were rather inspired by the touching and personal stories he unravelled over the course of an hour. Food For Soul is a non-profit founded by Bottura that fights food waste and supports social inclusion.
Community kitchens are created around the world by bringing together public and private organisations, (including Lavazza and Ferrari) as well as chefs, artisans, food suppliers, artists and designers - usually big name ones. Quality and in-date ingredients, that are perfectly edible but would otherwise go to waste, are transformed into delicious and nutritious multi-course meals for the needy. So far, the project has hosted refettorios in Milan, London and Rio.
It takes its book form in Bread Is Gold in which you'll find 150 recipes from 45 of the world's top chefs who've cooked at these refettorios, including Daniel Humm, Mario Batali, René Redzepi, Alain Ducasse, Joan Roca, Enrique Olvera, Ferran & Albert Adrià and Virgilio Martínez. The recipes turn everyday ingredients into inspiring dishes that are delicious, economical, and easy to make. Here are ten things Massimo said that really resonated during his talk in Chicago.
"Each chef bought an open mind, the desire to jump and make the best meal possible with the ingredients they had."
"65 chefs turned 15 tons of food waste into 10,000 meals over 6 months."
"A 92-year-old lady said to me in London, this is the most beautiful space I have ever seen - I can die happy now."
"The most difficult refettorio was in Modena, my own town, I was confronting people I had known or seen around since I was a kid - people who had lost their job and didn’t have enough money to feed their family."
"At the start of the project I thought to myself, do we need another soup kitchen or a space that changes perception?"
"Beauty is what nourishes the soul - it's for our guests and for our volunteers because people cannot live by bread alone."
"Hospitality is as important as the kitchen. Sharing a meal is a gesture of inclusion."
"Bread Is Gold is testimony that recipes can change the way we look at the world."
"Milan was an opportunity to do something special - to feed the planet."
"It's not about eating food it's about making food. Recipes can be a solution to a problem. Choose to solve the problem, it might be the most revolutionary thing you can do."
Bread Is Gold takes a holistic look at the subject of food waste, presenting recipes for three-course meals from 45 of the world's top chefs, including Daniel Humm, Mario Batali, René Redzepi, Alain Ducasse, Joan Roca, Enrique Olvera, Ferran & Albert Adrià and Virgilio Martínez.