Massimo Bottura

Biography

Massimo Bottura was born in 1962 in Modena, a small city in Emilia-Romagna, in the Po River Valley. In a country of the richest culinary tradition, Emilia is arguably its richest – the home of Parmigiano Reggiano, the best prosciutto and culatello, of Lambrusco wine, and of course the finest balsamic vinegar in the world.

“The most famous Italian chef in the world”

Stefano Bonilli

founder of the Gambero Rossi guide

“Massimo Bottura, the avant-gardist of tradition”

Marie-Claude Lortie

La Presse, Montreal

“Bottura thinks of his dishes as metaphors. They tell stories.”

Jane Kramer

The New Yorker

“Massimo Bottura, the mercurial chef who reinvented Italian cooking.”

The New Yorker

The Guardian

“We haven’t even begun to see what Massimo’s cooking could be.”

René Redzepi

world famous chef of Noma

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Bottura grew up in a well to do family. His mother Luisa loved to cook for her daughter and four sons. Massimo was the youngest and from an early age was attracted to the kitchen. He began to cook in high school for his friends.

After high school he studied law, but ended up working for his father in the fuel business. But Massimo’s heart was elsewhere. One of his brothers told him about a cheap trattoria for sale just outside Modena. He scraped the bit of money he needed and bought the place. The trattoria, called Campazzo, was a trucker hangout. Business was bad, but Massimo began experimenting. That drove the truckers away, but his friends came and the crowd got younger.

He absorbed a lot about local cooking from a woman he hired to help cook, Lidia Cristoni. Under her influence, Massimo cooked traditional Modena meals. He also learned French cooking from a chef who opened a restaurant nearby. With Campazzo gaining a reputation, Massimo opened a club in town for his friends, where he would cook in the evenings. It became ‘the’ cool place in Modena for the young crowd.

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Massimo on the Refettorio
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Osteria Francescana

Massimo Bottura’s restaurant is located in Modena’s quiet back streets and houses a series of striking modern artworks across several dining spaces. The restaurant is rated second in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants by Restaurant Magazine in 2015, and is rated with three stars by the Michelin Red Guide. Massimo’s second restaurant, Franceschetta 58, is a contemporary osteria that features exceptional ingredients served in a convivial atmosphere.