On a recent trip to NYC to host two evenings in the kitchen at Sotheby’s for the Contemporary Art Auction, chef Massimo Bottura of restaurant Osteria Francescana made a stop at Barneys New York. While this may not seem noteworthy—who wouldn’t want to stop by and shop our beautiful Madison Avenue store on a visit to NYC?—the appearance was indeed a special occasion for the chef. Together with Team Barneys, Bottura curated a stunning rustic holiday tablescape worthy of his closest friends and family, as well as for a backdrop to the eye-pleasing, delectable Italian dishes that have earned him his three Michelin stars.

In addition to being a chef known for his inventive take on Italian cuisine—a staggering feat in its own right, if you think about all the talented nonnas who have perfected the red sauce genre—he’s also an avid art collector, family man (as documented by Netflix’s Chef’s Table), and recent author of Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef. The book not only offers 50 of Massimo Bottura’s sought-after recipes, it’s also an intimate, colorful, and sometimes humorous look at how he got to be one of Modena’s most celebrated hometown figures and earned his status as a worldwide culinary star.

If you’re already familiar with Chef Massimo Bottura, a signed copy of Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef makes the perfect gift for yourself or the foodies in your life. And for those of you who want to get to know the chef, stop by Barneys New York’s Chelsea Passage home section on the 9th floor to pick up the balsamic vinegar specially imported from Modena and see his chef’s table featuring carefully edited setting and tabletop design ideas, perfect for your own holiday family gatherings.

Massimo Bottura by Paolo Terzi Fotografo 3
Chef Massimo Bottura photographed by Paolo Terzi

Massimo Botturo hand-picked his preferred festive porcelain plate setting—the ‘Scarlet Labyrinth’ by Richard Ginori 1735—and had them flown in from Tuscany.

A handwritten Connor place card for Massimo Bottura’s wife, Lara.

Osteria Francescana‘s famous dessert, ‘Oops, I Dropped the Lemon Tart” as shown in Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef, published by Phaidon.

An outtake from the book shows Chef Bottura and his staff outside the restaurant in Modena, Italy.

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