Massimo Bottura launches Bread Is Gold in London
'It's all about imagination, knowledge and what one can do with nothing,' chef says at at Refettorio Felix
Massimo Bottura launched Bread Is Gold at Refettorio Felix in London last night with a heartfelt speech, a bevy of chef friends and a host of special guests. The Ilse Crawford designed space provided the perfect backdrop to an evening of fun and food created by Giorgio Locatelli, Brett Graham and Massimo's sous-chef Takahiko Kondo from Osteria Francescana.
Cutting short Phaidon publisher Emila Terragni's introductory speech, Massimo grabbed the microphone to make a few points about the book (which presents 150 recipes for three-course meals from 45 of the world's top chefs) and his work with Food For Soul.
Massimo reiterated that Bread Is Gold and Food For Soul shouldn't be seen as “a charity project, but instead, a cultural one to fight waste through the creativity of the chefs. It's all about imagination, knowledge and what they can do with nothing," he said. "They open the fridge door and with it they open a dialogue. With that we can make the world better!"
In his speech Massimo revealed how the idea of how to elevate the concept of a soup kitchen came to him while looking at the line of people outside one near his hometown.
“The people waited in line and got their napkins, their knives and forks and plates. But I realised I just didn’t know how to work that. I don’t know what to do in a soup kitchen but I know what to do in Osteria Francescana. Because that’s about hospitality. When somebody comes there from Brazil or Peru it’s about hello and welcome!
"So I decided, this line thing, we don’t need it. Instead, we’re gonna serve at the table and we’re gonna serve dessert. By doing so we revealed the dignity of the people. And in Rio, one of them even said: ‘It’s the first time in my life I’ve been treated as a human being.’"
Massimo said that the work he's already done on Food For Soul - and the work done by journalists and writers spreading news of the work - had helped bring about new laws concerning food waste in Italy and France. "Italy and France passed a law against food waste because of what we did in Milan. And he confirmed that the next Refettorio will open in Paris in the new year.
"So it’s easy, but we have to stop talking and act," he added. "We can show that chefs in 2017 are much more than the sum of their recipes. We show that we can do something much more important than be number one, two or three. What is the meaning of that?” Learn more about Food For Soul, buy Bread Is Gold here and take a look at some of our party pics, taken by James Mason, below.