Bottura grew up in a well to do family. His mother Luisa loved to cook for her daughter and four sons. Massimo was the youngest and from an early age was attracted to the kitchen. He began to cook in high school for his friends.

After high school he studied law, but ended up working for his father in the fuel business. But Massimo’s heart was elsewhere. One of his brothers told him about a cheap trattoria for sale just outside Modena. He scraped the bit of money he needed and bought the place. The trattoria, called Campazzo, was a trucker hangout. Business was bad, but Massimo began experimenting. That drove the truckers away, but his friends came and the crowd got younger.

He absorbed a lot about local cooking from a woman he hired to help cook, Lidia Cristoni. Under her influence, Massimo cooked traditional Modena meals. He also learned French cooking from a chef who opened a restaurant nearby. With Campazzo gaining a reputation, Massimo opened a club in town for his friends, where he would cook in the evenings. It became ‘the’ cool place in Modena for the young crowd.

The Story

Theater of Life is about the Refettorio Ambrosiano, an extraordinary soup kitchen conceived by renowned chef Massimo Bottura during the Milan 2015 World’s Fair. Massimo invited 60 of the world’s best chefs to join him to cook for refugees and the homeless of Milan. All meals were made from the waste food of Expo.

From director Peter Svatek: “What is home for a homeless person or a political refugee? Massimo says chefs can no longer cook for just the elite ignoring the ethical issues about feeding the planet. These are the questions the film tackles. The Refettorio became a home. It was fascinating and beautiful to see how these great chefs transformed waste food into delicious meals.

“But we wanted more. To meet and get to know the people the Refettorio served. Who are they? What is their life like? What happened to them at the Refettorio? And through their eyes raise some of the important ethical questions. The film is, I hope, a warm, human, compassionate look at the Refettorio.”

Find out more about MassimoBottura and Theater of Life here |