Dinner with Massimo Bottura, the thrice Michelin-starred chef – his Osteria Francescana has topped The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for the second time
Italy, Austria and France come together to dine – in the name of territory, of nature and of the philosophy of sharing. A gathering of Michelin Star chefs at the Kraler Foundation in Dobbiaco, for the fifth edition of the Gourmet Festival Alta Pusteria.
As a hideaway, the Kraler Foundation is slowly being discovered. There are two underground floors, beneath a reinforced concrete sail that recreates the shape of the terrain. Pillars of rough steel in a cross shape – architectural cleanliness inspired by that of Mies Van der Rohe. An entire wall covered with gold leaf is reflected in a long window overlooking the Dolomites from a hole in the sky. Almost entirely self-sufficient in terms of energy and consumption, this is a structure immersed in its nature, remaining a deliberately empty and mimetic space, ready to host art, fashion, design, culture, cuisine in a welcoming way. We always say it – it’s all about manner – and Daniela, Franz and Alexander, the ‘Kraler’ themselves, are certainly sincere when they welcome you into their home.
An invitation to the Chris & Friends – les Collectionneurs dinner, as part of the Gourmet Festival Alta Pusteria, an ‘across the Tyrolean border’ gathering created by chef Chris Oberhammer of the Tilia restaurant in Dobbiaco. At his side, travelling in from France, Mickaël Pihours – from the Le Gambetta restaurant in Saumur – and Jessica Préalpato – pastry chef to Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée in Paris – all belonging to the Les Collectionneurs community of restaurateurs and hoteliers, presided over since 1999 by Alain Ducasse. All with a mutual passion for popular cuisine that conveys identity. «Mickaël brought pigeon from the Loire, Jessica chocolate. Each one an example of regional excellence», explains Chris. «The goal is the union of territories, also through the typical produce of each one».
Born in Dobbiaco, at eighteen Chris left his home kitchen, initially for Brussels, and then Paris, New York and Monte Carlo, where he remained for five years at the Louis XV led by Alain Ducasse, «where I learned respect for the produce and the materials. Our work begins there, where the farmer’s ends». The call of the mountain saw him return to the Sexten Dolomites, first to the family hotel and then from 2010 to Tilia – a glass cube restaurant in the grounds of the Grand Hotel in Dobbiaco that resembles a living room, with six tables and a maximum of sixteen seats. The carpet on the ground, the paintings and the sculptures in iron and glass also all the work of the chef. The first Michelin star in 2007, and the denial of the second in 2009, «I distanced myself because I found that what was on the plate was always less valued than the ‘surroundings’. So I removed everything, the tablecloths and even the wine list for a while». In the lounge are Luana and his wife Anita, a sommelier skilled in putting into words the sensations of wine. And in the kitchen, the team? «It’s me!». And a young, fifteen-year-old beret-wearing apprentice who arrived a couple of months ago. Open all year round, except November, «when I’m not there, the restaurant is closed. These days, chefs spend too much time out of the kitchen, you no longer know who is doing the cooking».
Via Dolomiti 31/b
Via Dolomiti 46