Chefs that know Massimo Bottura first speak of his character, then his cooking. That is a simple testament to the type of person he is—kind, accepting, and sincere—and a hint at his affection for food. His passionate Italian charisma, coupled with his innate love for flavor, has built him a strong base of supporters around the globe.
Since meeting Bottura, we’ve kept in touch, and recently shared a message to see how he was doing in Italy. Like many others amid the COVID-19 outbreak, his three Michelin-starred restaurant (Osteria Francescana) and recently opened bed-and-breakfast hotel (Casa Maria Luigia) in Modena have halted daily operations. To think all of Bottura’s F&B and hospitality efforts have paused, however, isn’t accurate.
Instead, he’s doing the unthinkable—providing cooking tutorials from his own kitchen, with his own equipment and products, to the public at no cost. On Instagram Live, he’s producing a series called “Kitchen Quarantine” and inviting the public in to see what he’s making and how they can do it, too.
Airing regularly at 8:00 p.m. CET, the series is filmed by his daughter, Alexa. Since premiering over two weeks ago, “Kitchen Quarantine” has sparked special requests for future episodes, provided question-and-answer sessions, and given the outside world a peek inside—learning how to prepare seemingly complex dishes, make sauces, and how to store and use leftovers.
Having Bottura walk the public through his dishes as he’s making them is a unique look into his personal life at home—mainly as a father cooking unique bites for his family, not customers. In some videos, we get glimpses of his wife, Lara, and his son, Charlie, as he cooks and answers questions.
When we got in touch with Bottura, we asked how he was doing and what “Kitchen Quarantine” really meant to him. His response was honest and emotional, painting a true depiction of what we all might be feeling around the world, yet struggling to put into words.
“Everything that wasn’t ours to begin with has fallen away. Now we have to live with what remains. Now we know that life is big, even when it is silenced and still,” Bottura said. “Once again, it is sacred to write a letter, wait for a smile, talk about the future, invite someone on FaceTime into the ripples of your fear. These are rare days. Precious days. Let each of us do something to deserve them. At the end of the day, it is a privilege just to be here—each in our own homes, but really all together under the roof of the world. This is Kitchen Quarantine.”