If you've never heard of Massimo Bottura, it's about time you met him! There is a good chance that after reading this article you will plan a trip to Modena. At OGER we love everything that comes from Italy, and so Mr. Bottura is a man after our own hearts.

Osteria Francescana, his restaurant in Modena, can be found at number 2 in The World's 50 Best Restaurants and is seen as the absolute pearl of Italian gastronomy. Mr. Bottura established his Francescana on Via Stella in 1995, to convey his progressive view of Italian cuisine to the inhabitants of the province of Emilia-Romagna. In his early years, however, he was castigated and ridiculed by both locals and Italian gastronomy critics.

His avant-garde look at the traditionally simple and modest Italian recipes was not understood. The best example is without a doubt the 'Tortellini walking into broth', where Massimo Bottura did not shy away from serving only six tortellinos. For the average Italian grandmother – nonna – on the other hand, it comes naturally to make a table full of this dish.

The Italian tries to incorporate humor, art and storytelling into his dishes. 'Oops, I dropped the lemon tart' was born when the dessert chef dropped a freshly prepared lime tart on the floor. The supervisor panicked until Mr. Bottura calmed him down and told him that he had just introduced a new dish.

'Oops, I dropped the lemon tart' was born when the dessert chef dropped a freshly prepared lime tart on the floor.

When the region was hit by earthquakes in 2012 and the main factories producing Parmesan cheese – Parmegiano Reggiano – were among the affected locations, Bottura spoke up. He was determined to use whatever reserves of Parmesan cheese were still intact to save the factories from collapse.

Because of the earthquake, the future of these manufacturers of legally protected cheese did not look very bright. His relatively simple 'Risotto Cacio e Pepe', where risotto and Parmesan come together, grew into a dish that was shared through many media and found a place on the menu in Osteria Franscescana. Moreover, later that year he introduced the 'Parmegiano Reggiano Night', an evening where restaurants all over the world paid extra attention to this type of cheese. The result: hundreds of restaurants needed the cheese from Bottura land. The Risotto Cacio e Pepe, as a social movement, saved the Parmesan industry of the Emilia-Romagna region.

In our opinion, this rescue operation makes Massimo Bottura an Italian hero. Over the years he has become a gastronomic jack-of-all-trades. Several of his cookbooks are available, for example 'Never trust a skinny Italian chef', Netflix made an iconic portrait about his story in Chef's Table and he appears at countless food events to taste his famous dishes. Osteria Franscescana also has three Michelin stars and can call itself the best restaurant in Europe. In other words: you want to eat here!

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