Open letter from Massimo Bottura to Italian Prime Minister: “We need hope”

The world-famous Italian chef, Massimo Bottura has published an open letter to Italian premier Giuseppe Conte suggesting five immediate measures to avoid a catastrophe.

3 Michelin starred chef Bottura fears that without a positive sign from the government, the restaurant sector is set to suffer a fatal blow that will lead to the closure of many restaurants across Italy and will lead Italy to lose one of the pillars that is essential to its identity. “Politics is about courage and dreams, it is similar to poetry. It is made of imagination and the future. Politics needs to make visible, the invisible,” Bottura said in reply to the decision taken by the Italian government to close restaurants, bars and cafes at 6pm.

“We need to be able to close at 11pm, we need help with liquidity in relation to our turnover, we need unemployment benefits for staff until there is a return to European tourism, a tax deduction for 2021 given we have already used the one for 2020 and a decrease in VAT to 4 per cent for next year,” the Italian chef of the world famous Osteria Francescana restaurant and group said.

The Italian chef said that today he asks: “Who are we? Today, a restaurant in Italy is equivalent to an artisan. We create culture, we are ambassadors for the agricultural sector, we drive food tourism, we train people and we have started a human culinary revolution that is also social. “

“Hospitality and restaurants, art and architecture, design and light are the assets that create our identity. In the last five years in Modena, thanks to a small micro restaurant like Osteria Francescana, over 80 bed and breakfast have been created. Culinary tourism was born which brings families, friends that spend a few days in Emilia to discover and celebrate the region, its growers, artisans and fishermen,” he said.

“Focusing on restaurants, today few have the liquidity. More than ever we feel left alone. We closed in March and you told us to reopen after three months in respect of the rules. We did it. Many of us entered into debt to be able to adhere to the new regulations. We bought masks, gels, temperature checks, air purifiers, tests for all staff, different entrances and distanced tables. To exist this unprecedented crisis, we need hope. Hope is what keeps us active.”

“When you are confident you can believe in yourself and in others. What has been our guiding force have been our dreams and not our income. Today, without the cashflow, even if we continue to dream of our daily income, many of us will not be able to make it out of this crisis and the country will lose one of its main pillars of its identity. Lack of funds leads first of all to not being able to pay wages, our suppliers, insurances and finally rent. We need a sign that gives us hope. Instead we risk depression. We need courage and help to regain our will to continue and to not feel alone,” Bottura said.