Saturday 17 March 2018

Food news: Turning bread into charity gold


Massimo Bottura
Massimo Bottura
Bread is Gold
JP McMahon
The Butler's Pantry
Piglet Wine Bar

Katy McGuinness

You'll know Massimo Bottura (above) as one of the subjects of the Chef's Table documentary series on Netflix, and as the chef at the three Michelin star Osteria Francescana in Modena, which currently holds the No2 slot on the World's Best list. (I was lucky enough to eat there last month, having put my name down on a cancellation list for eight different lunch and dinner sittings. I also ate twice at Franceschetta, Bottura's casual restaurant, where it is much easier to get a reservation.)

Bottura has used his celebrity to promote his work as an activist on the topics of food waste and social inclusion, and in 2015 established Refettorio Ambrosiano, a community soup kitchen, to coincide with the Milan Expo. The chef drafted in leading Italian designers and artists to work on the space, and 60 chefs from around the world to help with the cooking. The following year, he did something similar at the Rio Olympics.

Now Bottura has compiled a cookbook documenting the first six months at the Refettorio, and amongst the chefs contributing recipes are Rene Redzepi, Ana Ros, Mario Batali and our own Jess Murphy, of Kai in Galway. At Refettorio, each of the visiting chefs compiled three-course meals out of surplus ingredients supplied by supermarkets, so the book aims to inspire home cooks to transform ingredients that would otherwise be discarded from their own domestic kitchens into delicious meals.

Jess Murphy's dishes were Kosheri - a Middle Eastern dish made with lentils, caramelised onions, rice, macaroni and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and turmeric - Meatballs with Burnt Bread Dip, and Burnt Honey and Toasted Millet Ice-cream. These recipes are all included in the book, along with some nice photos of Jess and her husband, Dave, at work in the kitchen of Refettorio. Another Irish contributor to the book is Mark Moriarty, who won the San Pellegrino World's Best Young Chef competition in 2015, when Bottura was one of the judges. His recipes are for soda bread, roast vegetable gazpacho and 'Marconara', an eggless version of carbonara.

The title dish, Bread is Gold, is described as Bottura's ode to his grandmother, using simple ingredients - bread crumbs, warm milk and sugar - to create something delicious. The royalties from the book go to Food for Soul, Bottura's non-profit entity, to create and sustain community kitchens around the world.

'Bread is Gold: Extraordinary Meals with Ordinary Ingredients' by Massimo Bottura & Friends is published by Phaidon, £29.95



The Butler's Pantry

The Butler's Pantry takes a positive approach to eating well, and its #FeedYourResolution initiative promotes wholesome food - such as the new Turmeric and Yellow Split Pea soup with ginger and cavolo nero - that tastes great and just happens to be good for you.


JP McMahon

Tickets to FOTE in Galway on October 22 and 23 are available at the early bird price of €250 until January 31. Organised by JP McMahon, the event is a must for anyone working in food in Ireland.


Piglet Wine Bar

Piglet in Temple Bar has expanded, and now has a proper kitchen and a new menu. Owner Enrico Fantasia says that the Angus Cote de Boeuf from Ron Lowle in Longford at €55 with sautéed potatoes and bearnaise is one of the best in the capital. (Well, he would, wouldn't he?)

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