From his Wikipedia page, “Massimo Bottura is an Italian restaurateur and the chef patron of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star restaurant based in Modena, Italy which has been listed in the top 5 at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards since 2010”.
Wow. Top 50.
At Osteria Francescana they insist on surprising you, rather than giving you what “you want”. Their menu has items like a non-descript € 320, 12-course tasting menu, and dishes like “We are still deciding what fish to serve!” and “Lobster in double sauce, acidic and sweet“.
If you go to their website and click on Reservations, you will not be able to find anything this year, and January 2023 is not yet open for reservations until July 1st.
Chef Bottura now runs several restaurants, and the Food for Soul non-profit. He has also been on an episode of Netflix’ Chefs Table.
But all that, is not the reason I am writing about him. First, he closes every summer and gives his staff a nice vacation, and second, and more important: he has been known to get to the restaurant early every day, grab a broom, and sweep the street in front of it.
Obviously, he doesn’t have to do it. He could pay anyone to do it. He already has someone on his staff who could do it, and street and sidewalk are probably not even dirty in the first place. He does it, because it is a ritual. I couldn’t find an explanation why he engages in this ritual, but I can tell you that to me it sends this message: Deep down, we are all equal, we shouldn’t take titles or status so seriously, and any job is worth doing.