Massimo Bottura Strikes Back

Banned for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants competition, Massimo Bottura has struck back with a vengeance.

His latest venture, Francescana at Maria Luigia, located just off the Autostrada near Modena South, has just been rated #1 by World’s 50 Best Truck Stops, the equivilent of the Michelin Guide for truckers.

It was an astounding rebound for Bottura, whose restaurant Osteria Francescana had been named best in the world two times. But, in a move manty considered ridiculous, he was outlawed from entering, apparently because he would have probably won.

“It would be like not allowing Seabiscuit run in a horse race because he would probably win,” said Nancy Silverton, a chef from America. “It would be like not allowing Lewis Hamilton to race in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza because he would probably win.”

Bottura, 56, took the news of the ban with the style of storied jazz piano player Thelonious Monk - in other words, he didn’t give a damn.

Bottura unveiled Casa Maria Luigia, named after his mother, last year to an elite unit of people including writer Ruth Reichl and cook Dominique Crenn. But, it wasn’t until several months ago that it became eligible for World’s 50 Best Truck Stops.

The top American truck stop on the list, coming in at #3, was Jubitz in Portland, Oregon. Second place went to the Nordschleife Truck Halt, Dummkopf!! at the Nurburgring in Germany, best known for the Porsche 919 sauerbraten.

Touring Casa Maria Luigia Saturday was Nancy Silverton who was mesmerized by the rooms, gardens. the trees - there are even a couple few Sequoias - and the menu which features some Osteria Francescana classics. “I wanna stop and park my truck here next year,.” Silverton said.

As she walked with Bottura, his wife Lara, their daughter Alexa, their son, “Don’t Pat Me on the Back Charlie”, and their dog - seriously - Thelonious Monk, the news came that Maria Luigia had been named best truck stop in the world. They were all so excited to hear the news that Charlie actually allowed a reporter to briefly pat him on the back.

The joy was not universal.

The Autogrill organization, which orperates truck and automobile stop throughout Western Europe Ital, filed a formal complaint with the Italian Supreme Court in the Piazza Cavour of Rome, stating “the Bottura place is hardly a truck stop. It’s too far from the freeway.”

However, officials at World’s 50 Best Truck Stops issued the following statment. “The rules are clearly stated, “A truck stop does not have to be located immediately adjacent to a Autostrada, freeway or Autobahn. Any establishment withing five kilometers (3.1) miles) is eligible.”

Francescana de Maria Luigia is less than four kilometers from A1/E35 Autostrada.

in response, Autogrill anounced Thursday that they had hired Rene Redzepi, whose Noma - along with The French Laundry, elBulli, El Celler de Can Roca, is the only other multi World’s 50 Best Restaurants winner - as a consultant. Redzepi could not be reached for comment.

A spokesperson for Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, emailed Krikorian Wrties the following, “Gimme a goddamn break. This Bottura guy drives a Maserati. Here’s what our founder ( Ferruccio Lamborghini) had to say about Masers. And I quote “ "Adolfo Orsi, then the owner of Maserati, was a man I had a lot of respect for: he had started life as a poor boy, like myself. But, I did not like his cars much. They felt heavy and did not really go very fast." :

Before speeding down a dirt road away from Casa Maria Luigia in a nimble and fast bright purple blue Maserati, Bottura himself declined comment for this article. So, the this is from the website :

FRANCESCANA at MARIA LUIGIA is an exciting new dining experience curated by three-Michelin star Chef Massimo Bottura. It is located in the lovingly restored Casa Maria Luigia, the Bottura’s Italian country house recently opened to public. The dining experience takes place in a turn of the century Carriage House transformed into a stunning dining room with open kitchen, contemporary artwork and views of the surrounding countryside.

FRANCESCANA at MARIA LUIGIA offers an Osteria Francescana tasting menu featuring signature dishesfrom the restaurant in Modena in a unique setting. Three communal tables welcome guests to share a close up, intimate and once in a lifetime experience of one of the most renowned kitchens in the world.

The seasonal 9-course tasting menu with beverage pairing (alcoholic and non) is 450 Euros per person.

If you have ever been fortunate enough to have Bottura’s “Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano” that’s a deal.