Massimo Bottura gets ready for US tour dates
Can superchefs save the planet? Find out as the Skinny Italian Chef teams up with Lavazza to talk about his Bread Is Gold book and Food For Soul initiative with a string of events in New York, Chicago, Toronto and Washington DC
Our skinny Italian chef Massimo Bottura knows when things go together. Who else would have thought to combine a lowly childhood snack with avant-garde foam cookery techniques to make his famous Memory of a mortadella sandwich, or insist his finest pastry chefs recreate a kitchen accident with his charming dessert, Oops! I dropped the lemon tart?
So, it shouldn’t surprise Italian food connoisseurs to discover Bottura has teamed up with Lavazza. The Italian coffee producer, founded in Turin in 1895, has established a reputation for thrift, sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Working with both local communities in its Piedmont region, as well as distant suppliers in Peru, Honduras Colombia, India, Brazil and Tanzania, the coffee firm helps to ensure both the long-term welfare of its neighbours and suppliers, and the environment.
Massimo of course, works towards similar goals with his Food for Soul initiative, and its haute-cuisine soup kitchens: Refettorio Ambrosiano in Milan; Refettorio Felix in London; Rio de Janeiro’s Refettorio Gastromotiva; Social Tables @Antoniano in Bologna; and Social Tables @Ghirlandina, in Massimo’s hometown of Modena. You can read more about them in our book Bread Is Gold.
In every location, Bottura and his team take bin-bound ingredients, and, with the help of a few famous chefs, cook these into healthy, delicious dishes for the poor, giving those in need a meal, spreading a little light conversation and happiness, and saving food that would otherwise be left to rot.
"Food waste is one of the biggest problems of our century and our generation’s cross to bear," Boturra says. "Almost one billion people are undernourished but one third of the food we produce globally is wasted every year."
By skilfully diverting some of that waste, the chef and his friends have not only lessened agriculture's environmental impact, but also raised the spirits of some of the neediest people in a handful of cities around the world.
This week Massimo and Lavazza team up for the chef’s north American tour dates taking in talks and events in New York, Chicago, Toronto and Washington DC. The coupling is a considered one.
Lavazza’s ¡TIERRA! initiative promotes good agricultural practices, protecting the environment and supporting the economic and social development of coffee-producing communities around the world.
Meanwhile, Lavazza monitors its energy use and its carbon footprint; it works hard to improve the health and happiness of its employees and professional partners; its new Nuvola Headquarters, in the centre of Turin, is being overseen by Cino Zucchi Architects, and meets the strictest LEED building codes.
This global approach isn’t footloose, and peripatetic, but very much grounded in the firm’s history and base in Turin, according to the Lavazza family.
“Our local roots find their expression in the coherence of our entrepreneurial pursuits,” they explain. “We did not drift somewhere yonder without a sense of identity, but we chose to stay in the heart of our city, rediscovering the value of a neighbourhood and amplifying its potential.”
Like Massimo, the company thinks local but spreads its sustainable message worldwide. Watch this space for news from Massimo’s tour and check out his book Bread Is Gold in the store.