This weekend top Italian chefs descended upon New York City for the annual Identità New York event at Eataly. As in years past, the Italian chefs were paired with prominent New York City chefs for demonstrations and multi-course dinners. On Saturday, Massimo Bottura of Modena's Osteria Francescana (currently ranked #3 in the world) teamed up with fellow three Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud to do a demonstration based on the theme of eggs.
For his part, Boulud prepared Ouef en Gelée with foie gras and black truffle. Bottura prepared two dishes collectively titled: Potato Waiting to Become a Truffle... It Couldn't and Tried to Become a Spaghetto: Image and Likeness. Both dishes (a baked potato with creme anglais and a potato pasta carbonara) were topped with generous portions of shaved white truffles. Of course, Eataly impressario Mario Batali was cheering the cooking on and adding color from the sidelines. There was plenty of playful Italian vs French banter and several teachable moments. Below, the top 10 quotes from the event:
1.) Boulud, on breaking down a chicken: "I don't know if it's impressive, but I do it fast."
2.) Batali, on Italian cooking versus French cooking: "We don't make brunoise, we make love."
3.) Boulud, on cooking with sherry: "This is not sherry vinegar. It's sherry sherry. You can pour yourself a glass on the side."
4.) Boulud, talking smack: "I don't buy ham at Eataly because I can make it myself. But if you want to buy it, you can get it at Epicerie Boulud."
5.) Boulud, on cooking with truffles: "If you can afford it, go for it."
6.) Bottura, to Boulud: "Does it bother the French that the Italians have better truffles?"
7.) Boulud, on his dish: "It's old fashioned cooking. When they told me I was cooking with Massimo, I knew I had to go classic."
8.) Bottura, on potatoes versus truffles: "It's an important message for young chefs: Not everyone can be a truffle, or Mario, or Daniel, but we need a team. Let's all be potatoes."
Batali: "I want to be a potato!"
9.) Bottura, on innovation: "You need classic technique. You need to know everything, then forget everything."
10.) Bottura, on changes in fine dining: "In the last 10 years in upper gastronomy, everything has changed. We're not behind closed doors anymore."