Chef Massimo Bottura Opens Posh Hotel in Modena


Massimo Bottura wears many crowns. The chef patron of Osteria Francescana has worked assiduously over the years to ensure that the restaurant retains its status as one of the best restaurants in the world. Between creating iconic dishes, Bottura has managed to author five books and also runs a non-profit organization that focuses on creating public awareness about food wastage and homelessness. The world’s best chef is now ready to add another feather to his cap — he has decided to take the plunge into luxury hotel realm, a move he had been contemplating for some time now. Bottura wanted to open an inn close to Modena to make up for the absence of a lavish hotel in the city.

It all began when two years ago Bottura and his wife, Lara Gilmore, rescued a 200-year-old magnificent estate, famous locally as the venue of many lavish parties, from foreclosure. Bottura and Gilmore invested in the property and spent two years renovating and remodeling it with the help of friends with eclectic tastes. Now known as the Maria Luigia Inn, after the name of Bottura’s mother, this three-story property is spread over 12 acres and is located only 20-minutes outside of Italy. The hotel houses 12 rooms, has a tennis court, a swimming pool, a tastefully done music room, and a spiffing sculpture garden.

If you are an art aficionado, Bottura’s new project should be your next stop. The celebrated chef and his wife plan to elevate the luxury quotient of this property by making it home to memorable pieces by many stalwarts of the art world. It is being said that guests will be able to admire the work of the likes of Tracey Emin, Matthew Barney, and Andy Warhol.

For those whose prime motive is to feast on delectable dishes by the world’s best chef, the inn houses an eat-in kitchen. Guests will be able to enjoy a lavish breakfast and light lunch, with menus designed by the chef himself. However, if that brings no satisfaction to the taste buds of guests, they will be allowed to pre-reserve a spot at Bottura’s tour-de-force restaurant, Osteria Francescana. If you haven’t had the pleasure of dining at this place before, make sure to try Tutto, a dining extravaganza that includes 12 meals.

On arrival, guests will be welcomed with half bottles of Lambrusco, the famous Italian wine that ranges from dry to sweet in taste and is a coveted choice among wine lovers world over, and Parmigiano Reggiano, the famous Italian cheese.

Bottura and his wife have not revealed the opening day yet, but if reports are to be believed guests will be able to enjoy this luxurious experience soon. With the owners going out of their way to ensure that a night’s stay at the Maria Lugia Inn won’t be something guests will easily forget, it is but obvious that the rate will be slightly heavier on the pocket. Rooms will cost $519 per night. However, with this move, Bottura and his wife have successfully tapped into the minds of the rich and elite of Italy and the world.

5 Massimo Bottura Dishes that Blow Me Away

Famous Italian restaurateur Massimo Bottura has been at the top for decades but his style has risen in prominence since 2010, when his Modena-based restaurant Osteria Francescana was rated with three Michelin stars. Since then, he has won numerous awards and established himself as one of the world’s top chefs, known for constantly pushing culinary boundaries. His most recent success — receiving the Best Restaurant in the World award by the prestigious The World’s Best 50 Restaurants list in June 2016 — has catapulted him to the very top and made his restaurant the first Italian restaurant to receive this eminent title. I’ve been following his work for a while and while it’s hard to pick an absolute favorite, here are 5 dishes that completely blow me away:

1. Croccantino di Foie Gras

This preparation is just amazing as it incorporate the novelty of eating croccantino (an industrial icecream from the 80s) and the velvety sensation of fois gras. The beauty of Bottura’s cooking is that it reflects his understanding of how textures and flavors combine to produce a perfect melange of tastes and every grown up dream to eat croccantino again.

The Croccantino is a perfect example of this. By combining the crunchiness and light sweetness of the almond and hazelnut crust with the balsamic heart, Bottura elevates the flavor of the foie gras. To boot, the ice cream stick takes the snazziness off what would normally be a high-class dish and gives it a nostalgic feel.

2. Oops I Dropped the Lemon Tart

Massimo Bottura's “Oops! I’ve dropped the lemon tart!”
Oops! I’ve dropped the lemon tart!

I love this dish because it destroys all of our preconceived notions of what a fancy meal is supposed to look like. Turned upside down and purposefully smashed, in this tart Bottura combines the avant-garde taste of haute cuisine with the casual nonchalance of a desert that didn’t turn out as expected.

Bottura’s recipe combines lemongrass ice cream, custardy zabaione filling and a delicious crust spiced with anise, black pepper, cinnamon and juniper. The different components give the dessert layers of flavor, combining the sweetness of the zabaione, the refreshing minty lime taste of lemongrass and the unassuming scent of the crust.

Overall, this lemon tart is an exotic yet familiar addition to any menu. I can’t wait to make it again!

3. Eel Swimming Up the Po River

This appetizer proves that all good food also has a story. The name of this dish references the voyage of the Estensi family in the 16th century from Ferrara to Modena — against the current, the eel gathers a number of ingredients from Veneto, Mantova and the countryside. The dish features a combination of polenta, apple extract, Amarone and saba making for a meal full of history and ripe with regional tastes.

I love this dish because of its feel for the local and its ability to transport you to another place and time. But in addition to appealing to your imagination and drawing upon history, Bottura succeeds in making an excellent dish, full of freshness and novelty.

4. Chicken Chicken… Where Are You?

This is by far one of my favorite recipes, inpired by Bottura’s little daughter, it combines an understated chicken taste with a variety of extravagant vegetables such as Koppert Cress, Daikon and Violet Flower in addition to classics such as Fennel, Scallion and Celery. The elaborateness of this dish is hidden in its style of preparation as well as the effort it takes to integrate a rich chicken taste into this variety of vegetables, but in fact you cannot find solid pieces of chicken in this preparation but just the scent, therefore “chicken where are you?”

5. 5 Different Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano

I love cheese and considering that parmiggiano reggiano is one of my favorite cheeses, I had to try this dish. It’s definitely very Bottura, combining the avant-garde with a firm connection with local history and tradition.

The recipe consists of five different textures of different ages of parmiggiano reggiano — a souffle, a galette, ‘air,’ as well as foam which all combine in spectacular ways considering that we are talking about the same product. Also, the recipe is easier to make than expected! The trick is to find the cheeses.