The Chef’s Table is one of my favorite documentary series on Netflix, and if you have not seen it, make sure you carve out five hours in your busy life and binge on the six episodes that focus on the creative process and stories of six amazing chefs. Each chef is unique, and each has had to overcome many challenges. They aren’t household names. They don’t have shows on The Food Network. And they don’t have product lines named after them. Instead, they have dedicated their life to food.
Last summer I was lucky enough to eat some of that food, at Chef Massimo Bottura’s restaurant Osteria Francescana, the second-best restaurant in the world. The restaurant is based in Modena, Italy, which is more well known for being the hometown of Ferrari, but give Bottura — the subject of the first part of Netflix’s series — some time and he may change that.
Bottura was the sole reason why a visit to his restaurant remains one of the most memorable experiences of my life. And no, it wasn’t because he came over to our table and shared the various stories behind some of his creations. Or that the decor of the restaurant is picture perfect. Or that the service is immaculate and a gold standard in professionalism.
What made the visit to the restaurant special was after the meal. On our way to the car, we saw Chef Massimo standing in an alley by the side of the restaurant, enjoying downtime with his entire staff, laughing and smoking.
I had enjoyed myself so much that I walked up to the chef to thank him and ended up talking about various things. He took us back into the kitchen and created a special dessert. I caught some of his thoughts on my Sony RX100. My former colleague and good pal Chris Albrecht helped edit this video (which was super shaky) and turn it into something worth watching.