How to Prove Yourself in Massimo Bottura’s Kitchen



We all know how passionate Massimo Bottura is about what he does, from cooking to his social projects like Food for Soul and Il Tortellante. So it’s not a surprise that he expects absolute passion and dedication from his team at his three-Michelin-star Osteria Francescana restaurant in Modena, Italy.

So what does Bottura do to test the passion of his staff? Well, as the energetic chef recently revealed to us he likes to play a game with them called, ‘Who are you?,’ in which he asks the staff to cook a classic dish, a tiramisu for example, their way. From the oldest sous-chef to the youngest stageaire, all are encouraged to express their own ideas of how the dish should be made, questioning tradition to allow the dish to evolve, which of course, is at the heart of Bottura’s philosophy at Osteria Francescana.

And more than once a dish from the game has been the starting point of a process for a new dish on the menu. One example is a tiramisu soufflé, which was the amalgamation of three people’s Who are you games.


Though the game is more concentrated in the kitchen, front of house are still involved, passing on the insights they receive and perceive from customers. “The approach of the team to this exercise is always amazing,” says Bottura. “In the [dining] room they have to know who [Itaian artist Alberto] Burri is or understand how to approach Russian constructivism – write some notes on that, go deep on things and not get lost on the iPhone or learn through Google. That’s something that to me is very important. And on the other side in the kitchen they learn how to express themselves through edible bites.”