Osteria Francescana has been in the top five of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list since 2011, and won its third Michelin star in 2012. In 2016, it hit the top spot for the first time, making it the only Italian establishment to have won the award.
On receiving the accolade this year, Bottura praised his team in Modena; “This is amazing, this is something we built all together. I am going to use this spotlight to show that chefs in 2018 are much more than the sum of their recipes.”
The judges applauded “Bottura’s contemporary cuisine, which challenges and reinvents Italian culinary tradition while making use of the finest produce from the Emilia-Romagna region.”
Sometimes referred to as the ‘food valley’ of Italy, Emilia-Romagna is the home of world-famous ingredients such as Aceto Balsamico di Modena and Parmigiano Reggiano. Since Bottura opened Osteria Francescana in 1995, he has become well known for his inventive food, which is often inspired by the world of contemporary art and design.
His signature dishes include The Five Ages Of Parmesan, comprised of five different elements, each made with Parmesan cheese of a different age; The Crunchy Part Of The Lasagne, a homage to the chef’s favourite part of an Italian culinary classic; and Oops! I Dropped The Lemon Tart, the result of a kitchen accident and Bottura’s eye for beauty in the unexpected.
Though the chef’s unique take on Italian cuisine was originally unpopular with locals in his hometown of Modena, a booking at Osteria Francescana is now exceptionally hard to secure. Reservations are taken four months in advance and released at 10am at the beginning of every month, when thousands of hopeful diners attempt to get a spot at one of only 12 tables.
Bottura and Osteria Francescana were featured in season one, episode one of Chef’s Table in 2015 and in the second season of Master of None in 2017, both on Netflix.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is decided by a panel of more than 1,000 culinary experts with the 2018 result announced at an awards ceremony in Bilbao in June. The annual awards have come under criticism in recent years over the transparency of the voting system and the lack of women recognized on the list.