The more I get to know Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore, the more I realise that their brains, their eyes, and their vibe are like a hybrid microscope-telescope focusing on the micro and the macro at the same time and preternaturally understanding how both work together. Take Tortellante, the local Modena tortellini-focused alternative education program that the duo founded for special needs kids, in particular their son Charlie. The idea was to create an option for him, foster skills and independence that will stay with him after he graduates high school. They looked around and said “Tortellini”- the very hands on, time consuming pasta that once you learn how to make, you can make beautifully. Modena is known for its rezdore, the gold makers, the women of the community who have traditionally made incredible delicious out of simple ingredients. Bottura and Gilmore asked the rezdore to teach their son and his friends, and the simple making of tortellini turned into a beautiful and interactive community program, where people can come together to share a tradition, or simply come together.
Community is a big part of Bottura’s vibe and so is food (obviously), which is why everything they do revolves around some kind of a kitchen- it could be a pasta lab like Tortellante, a refrigerator in Casa Maria Luigia, a community table, a show kitchen, and even the Botturas’ home kitchen during Kitchen Quarantine. It’s an equaliser, where everyone feels comfortable. But what after the meal? Bottura wants you and the rest of the world to change your attitude towards food waste. In 2015, he started with a soup kitchen in Milan which has now spawned into Food for Soul, a global network (eight kitchens and social tables around the world) that focuses on feeding and nourishing local communities through all while fighting food waste.
In this episode, Lara and I talk about Tortellante and Food for Soul, social initiatives and community.
In This Episode
[01:26] Lara Gilmore shares her tortellini backstory
[03:47] Lara and Massimo Bottura’s Il Tortellante community project
[05:02] The Rezdore
[08:17] Giving Back
[09:08] A Tortellini Pasta Lab . . .
[12:06 . . . and a Community Hangout
[13:40] Food for Soul
[19:11] Investing in Community
You want to learn more?
CIAO BELLA is an ongoing conservation with those creative minds who are redefining Italy. New episodes every Monday. Keep in touch with ideas and comments for more Ciao Bella episodes, and please rate the podcast on iTunes.