“We never experienced this kind of time. So we have to do as much as we can in this time, and share in your isolated way, share with the world some positive attitude.”
We humans are creatures of comfort, and in times of crisis, change or uncertainty, we often turn to food. We are wired to cook, to feed ourselves and our loved ones. Some of us however are not that confident in the kitchen and prefer to enjoy the creations of our favorite chefs at their restaurants. But with much of the world staying home during this time, it’s not always possible. With all this in mind, Massimo Bottura and his family invite us all into their family home – virtually, of course – with a new Instagram show, Kitchen Quarantine.
Bottura is the Michelin-starred chef behind Osteria Francescana, the top restaurant on San Pellegrino’s world’s best restaurants list. Bottura’s popular MasterClass lesson series is great for learning all the professional tricks, but Kitchen Quarantine is closer to an informal cooking class, rather like watching your chef-friend whip up something for a dinner party.
Alexa, Bottura’s daughter’s, is responsible for this great idea; after a day or two of staying home watching her dad in the kitchen, she thought a lot of people would enjoy seeing him cooking for his family in his own home. She mentioned the idea of sharing their family meals with fans around the world, and luckily for us, Massimo agreed.
The Instagram-based show is real, down to earth cooking and features the chef’s delightful family. Catch the nightly cooking series at 8pm CET (3pm ET; 7pm in the UK or find your time zone here) on the chef’s Instagram page.
Freestyle cooking – in which we ditch the recipe books and create unique dishes from whatever we find in the pantry – is a wonderful way to experiment with flavors, learn new cooking techniques, and finish off leftovers. Chef Massimo takes this freestyle approach to the next level with his intimate knowledge of ingredients, flavor profiles professional methods. With limited trips to the food market, Bottura cooks a full dinner using ingredients he finds in his fridge. Recent dishes on the menu included a green vegetable curry, tortellini in cream sauce, guacamole, risotto with asparagus and peas, pasta with tomato sauce, eggplant parmigiana, and even Japanese beef ramen soup – all with interesting twists based on the ingredients on hand.
Kitchen Quarantine involves the whole family: wife Lara and son Charlie lend a hand, sample the flavors, and chip into the videos while Alexa handles the camera and dad Massimo shows off his skills. Even the family dog, Thelonious Monk, gets in on the action, waiting hopefully for bits to drop to the floor!
Kitchen Quarantine is targeted at home cooks, although other professional chefs will no doubt follow him to see Bottura in action. This series will help anyone turn basic ingredients into tasty dishes and great home-cooked food. We can all pick up a few useful tips and great ideas from the Bottura family on how to use things we already have. Past livestreams are no longer available on Bottura’s Instagram page, but Fine Dining Lovers has preserved some of the shows on their YouTube channel.
Chef Bottura is known for getting involved in times of need. In May 2012 following two earthquakes in Italy, he saved thousands of wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano from destruction by hosting a world-wide ‘cookathon’. Bottura has a goal to combat world hunger and has made food more accessible through his revolving Food for Soul non-profit project, partnered by his wife Lara Gilmore.