OH WHAT A NIGHT …IT WAS SUCH A NIGHT!
The stars were out tonight, as we waited in anticipation to meet Massimo Bottura at George Brown College. All the chefs-in-training, clad in their best whites were waiting with joy on this cold, crisp February night.
Massimo Bottura told interesting stories. Many of which are described in his book “Never Trust A Skinny Italian Chef”. He dropped out of law school to follow his passion as a chef and his father would not speak to him for some time. Massimo was awarded his third Michelin Star just weeks before his father passed. His restaurant has been named as the best restaurant in the world twice now. The San Pellegrino site states: Massimo Bottura’s three-starred Michelin restaurant, Osteria Francescana was voted #1, 2018.
“So, how do each of these initiatives blend together to address the future of food? “One only needs to look at it with the right eyes,” Bottura said,
” One of those passions is reconsidering society’s changing relationship with food and the surrounding landscape. Alongside his wife and business partner, Lara Gilmore, Bottura is about to unveil Casa Maria Luigia, an 18th-Century villa-turned-bed-and-breakfast nestled in the hills of Emilia-Romagna that, as Gilmore puts it, “offers a 3D image of how we see Italy” published by bbc.com
Massimo Bottura spent a summer at Ferran Adria’s El Bulli (awarded best restaurant in the world for several years before closure) in Spain and a year at Alaine Ducasse’s restaurant in Monte Carlo. He was invited to be their head chef. An honour in itself. Massimo’s book “Never Trust An Italian Skinny Chef” is an interesting read. I was up until 4:00 am reading his life’s journey. In his talk and in his book, Massimo speaks about the difficulty in making a “simple” dish spectacular. The stages of parmigiano reggiano was particularly interesting.
Parmigiano Reggiano SALAD
As an homage to Massimo, I am making a favourite salad of mine, which incorporates reggiano. I took this pictures right before leaving to meet Massimo Bottura for a second time. He is speaking again tonight at George Brown along with Canadian celebrity chef’s including Claudio Aprile, our own molecular gastronomy chef.
Mushroom, Reggiano Salad
* 2 portobello mushrooms
* arugula lettuce
* balsamic syrup (home made)
* parmigiano reggiano, shaved slices
* thin slices of prosciutto or seranno ham
Sauté slices of portobello mushrooms in some olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt. Not much since the prosciutto will be salty enough. No pepper. The arugula is peppery enough. Set mushrooms aside. Fry until crispy like bacon (who doesn’t love bacon?), slices of Serrano or prosciutto, adding more olive oil if required. Place arugula on a platter. Layer on top the sautéed mushrooms, fried prosciutto, shavings of regianno, and drizzle with the syrup.
FOOD TIPS: There are no quantities in this recipe as you will use as much as you need for the amount of servings. It would be best served on a flat platter with a serving spoon and people can help themselves. As there are only a few ingredients, the quality of the ingredients are paramount. I buy the serrano fresh from the local St. Lawrence market (in Toronto, CAN). I have the butcher slice it for me. I buy the reggiano from the same location. I have them cut it from the wheel instead of buying the pre-cut sections. I tell them that I need a larger slice, even if I don’t. It gives me an excuse to have them cut it. If you can, it would be best to buy the day the wheel is cut. Reggiano is a living ingredient which deteriorates in quality the same way that a wine does after it’s open. You can only appreciate this when you have tasted it. I notice there are stores today that will announce that they are cutting wheels of cheese. When they do, run…… It will be worth it!