Massimo in Los Angeles

February 16, 2018

Among today’s hero chefs – and they are a growing group – two people really stand out.

Jose Andres, who’s showing the world how private citizens can deal with disaster if they have the heart, the will and the energy to do it. His work in Puerto Rico makes me proud to be human.  And Massimo Bottura, who’s making it his mission to enlist fellow chefs to feed the hungry all over the world.

Massimo was in Los Angeles last night, raising money for his foundation, Food for Soul (and also the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank), and to celebrate his new book, Bread is Gold.

This is what we ate – described in the chef’s own words. (Please forgive the photography; the lighting was romantic, which was lovely but all those candles made shooting food very difficult.)

Insalata di Mare

“The classic Italian antipasto reinvented like a game of hide and seek where octopus, shrimp, cuttlefish, calms, oysters, mussels, bottarga, yuzu, seaweed and aromatic herbs delight and surprise.”

A perfect description of one of my favorite Massimo dishes.

Maine Meets LA

A playful take on the East Coast lobster roll puts tradition on the back burner.  The hot dog roll is substituted with a Chiense steamed bun filled with fresh Maine lobster and dressed with crustacean sauce and marinated vegetables.

Autumn in New York: Winter in LA

“This dish is a tribute to Billie Holiday’s infamous rendition of the jazz standard. The main ingredients are apples prepared according to diverse culinary practices.  They are glazed with red beet juice and smoked, pickled in apple cider vinegar and warming spices, roasted in pork fat, pureed with red wine and onions and served with a green apple gel, and finished with a cream of Campanine apple mostarda and burnt apple dashi.”

(You’ll find my notes on this dish – and others – here.)

Riso Arancia

“Centuries ago, Caterina de Medici brought the original Tuscan recipe ‘anatra all arancia’ the celebrate her union with King Henry II and the recipe has been traveling ever since. This version, with duck, orange and spices bridges the cuisines of Europe and Asia.  Vialone Nano rice is cooked in a fragrant broth of burnt oranges and served with a hand chopped duck ragu and a coriander Peking sauce.”

What you’re missing here is the fragrance; the scent of oranges went wafting across the table in the most seductive fashion.

In the Cherry Orchard

“An edible landscape celebrates ingredients from the Modenese countryside. Three DOP cherries: ciliegia, duroni and amarine are blended into a deep cherry sorbet.  Crumble from a local chocolate and coffee delicacy called Torta Barozzi represents the rich agricultural soil while an almond infused ricotta from the foothills of the Apennines covers the dish like an Emilian fog.”


“A sweet and salty dessert becomes a celebration of the small and simple pleasures of life.”

Cracker Jacks on a visit to Antartica. Cold, warm, sweet, salty. Very fun.



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