Massimo Bottura: "Being Inspired"
On Wednesday, January 22, 2014 one of the most talented high cuisine chefs in the world, the modenese Massimo Bottura, graced the stage at the Alma Graduate School.
Growing up, Bottura started to learn and see the world from “under the kitchen table”, incorporating all of the secrets that his mother, grandmothers and aunts passed on. Now, his 3 Michelin stars restaurant Osteria Francescana confirms him as one of the world’s most creative chefs in the world; and it is not by chance that he developed his natural and empiric knowledge to cook in the wonderful and rich region of Emilia Romagna, which has recently been recognized by Forbes as “the best food-region of the world”.
The Aula Magna auditorium was packed with professors, students and guests - vying for the presentation from this culinary genius. His speech was certainly non-traditional, and a whimsical feature as he exemplified how passion for art and music garners culinary mastery.
After initially breaking the past into pieces and looking at his memory of food in a critical, but yet not nostalgic way, he confidently explained that freedom of dream is his main source of inspiration, which can hit unexpectedly every day even when sitting under a tree, observing falling leaves. According to Bottura, inspiration will come only when we leave some time for poetry and for ourselves - if we are not inundated with obligations of everyday life. He confirmed that in the very moment we are able to leave time for our thoughts, then it would be possible to create art even with very ordinary and simple things like wind, frost, land, and nature. This metaphor is exactly what Bottura creates when forming unique recipes, which become unparalleled works of art.
As Bottura mentioned, one of the greatest challenges in this highly artistic transformation process is not to de-naturalize traditional Emilian ingredients like Saba, Aceto Balsamico and Cotechino, but rather to actualize them. His goal is to look at them from a different perspective and to “revaluate the river of the classic recipes”, combining natural resources, technologies and art. By doing so, he succeeds in reconstructing food traditions instead of deconstructing them.
Bottura conveyed to Alma his passion, attitude of “impossible is nothing”, ideas of doing things in your own way, concluding that these are the elements of his lesson that each of us has to take to the heart, and that should influence our decisions - both personal and professional. Perhaps more important, we should keep our mind open to every possible inspiration and “get contaminated from new ideas and cultures in a wise way, not in a wild one”, as he said - without losing our identity.
By Alida Di Placido, Andriy Yakuga, Barbara Benedetti, Deanna D'Alfonso, Karla Gonzales Ramos, Pinar Akbas, Riccardo Paterlini, Roka Campos (Alma MBA students)
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