Kochfreunde.com is the culinary magazine of Oliver Wagner. Here, everything revolves around the almost most beautiful thing in the world: good food. The focus ranges from reports on exciting restaurants to recipes from his own kitchen, cookbooks and culinary gadgets.


Kochfreunde.com ist das kulinarisches Magazin von Oliver Wagner. Hier dreht sich alles rund um die beinahe schönste Sache der Welt: Gutes Essen. Dabei reicht der Fokus von Berichten über spannende Restaurants bis hin zu Rezepten aus der eigenen Küche, Kochbücher und kulinarische Gadgets.

Massimo Bottura: Never trust a skinny italian chef

Massimo Bottura is not only one of the most intellectual chefs, but also a great creative connected to the arts and traditions. His English-language book, now published by Phaidon, is a reflection of all these facets and at the same time a showcase of the work of the last 20 years of his three Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana in Modena.

Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano | Photo: Carlo Benvenuto

Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef is a tribute to Bottura’s career and gives readers a glimpse into Osteria Francescana, the story of its creation, and shows and explains the background of many of its famous dishes. And it is precisely these stories about each recipe that make the work so appealing. Of course, far back in the book you will also find the exact instructions for the preparation, but much more it is not about the descriptive, but about the way that leads to a recipe. The idea and the story of its creation. Sometimes it may be a throwback to a mother’s recipe or the memory of the smell in the neighbor’s garden when pig’s heads were cooked in the fall. But it is often a long, creative and intellectual process that Bottura reports. He is always driven by the question of how traditions can be reinterpreted without losing their magic.

Camouflage | Photo: Stefano Grazieri

At Chefs Revolution I had the opportunity to listen to a lecture by Massimo Bottura, in which he explained, among other things, the concept behind Camouflage and its links to Gertrude Stein and Picasso. A dish ostensibly dedicated to the cubist heritage in military camouflage, at the same time itself hiding under this very pattern a very complex combination of rabbit blood and chocolate.

For me, culture is at the heart of the Italian kitchen and the kitchen is at the heart of our culture. I like to tell stories through ingredients and traditions that inform the flavor and bring it to life.

The book boasts wonderful photos by Stefano Graziani, who has never worked on a cookbook before. The pictures give you an idea of how loud it gets in the kitchen. At the same time, they illustrate the many small moments and hand movements that, strung together, make up the long hours in the restaurant business: the chopping, the pouring, the sautéing. But Bottura’s life beyond the osteria is also captured in the images. These are juxtaposed with the calmer photographs of Carlo Benvenuto. It gives the reader an up-close look at the chef’s fantastic creations, created with great attention to detail.

Beautiful, Psychedelic Spin-Painted Veal, Not Flame Grilled | Photo: Carlo Benvenuto

In all, the book includes 50 recipes that tell of Bottura’s philosophy and sources of inspiration, ingredients and techniques. The chef explains why some of his creations have such impressive names as “Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano,” “Oops! I dropped the Lemon Tart” or “Tribute to Monk”, and explains how he chooses his ingredients and pushes the boundaries of tradition. He also makes the fundamental role of art in his cuisine a theme and even draws parallels between the creation of a work of art and that of a recipe.

For me, without question, one of the most exciting culinary books this fall. Although some of the recipes and ideas are complex, there are still plenty of ideas to take back to the kitchen at home.


Massimo Bottura: Never Trust A Skinny Italian Chef
296 pages
Language: English
Publisher: Phaidon
Published 21 October 2014
Price: € 49,95

Never trust a skinny italian chef
Never trust a skinny italian chef
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