Great food, like great art, is one of the many pleasures of life. High on my list is to experience Osteria Francescana, the best restaurant in Italy and ranked number one on the World’s Best Restaurants List 2016. While I wait for that trip to Italy, I’ve been watching videos on YouTube and find myself learning a lot about how to create a satisfying customer experience from the restaurant and their chef, Massimo Bottura.

Inspired by Art 

“Art becomes our motivational force behind every dish.” 

The Italian masterpieces “La Vie en Rose” from Francesco Vezzoli and “World Map” from Mario Sciffano adorn the walls of Osteria Francescana “to define the restaurant’s unique style with its poetic interpretations.” Many of Chef Bottura’s dishes are art-inspired, like his dish “Beautiful Psychedelic Veal, Not Flame-Grilled,” inspired by the Damien Hirst psychedelic spin painting. We don’t need priceless works of art hanging on our walls but creating an atmosphere inspired by art will deliver a better customer experience.

Rooted in Culture

“Culture is the most important ingredient.”

Culture is like the roux of any great sauce: It’s the foundation that holds it together – the familiar base from which we build. Osteria Francescana is a restaurant in a “land of slow food and fast cars.” They focus on surprising and delighting their guests with a variety of flavors, a sense of humor, and an intimate setting (there are only 12 tables). Incorporate the best of your culture and country to create a better experience.

Intelligent Design

Whether you’re making your billionth cheeseburger or creating a recipe that “compresses everything into bites of edible culture,” creating a satisfying customer experience is a lot like creating a fine meal. It’s not just about the food; it’s about the care you put into the experience, the presentation, the atmosphere, and the way the staff treats your guests.

Create for Hearts and Minds 

“We have to stop thinking about cooking just to fill our stomach. I want to feel your heart, I want to feel your mind.” 

Chef Bottura’s creations are not about demonstrating technique but about using food as a way to share the rich history of Italy with each guest. The experience is achieved for the customer when we create an experience that touches their hearts and minds, not one focused on our backroom efficiencies.

Evolve Our Palates

“Our traditions root us in a place, culture and time, but they must never be stagnant.”

Bottura combines tradition and innovation, continually pushing himself and his team to new culinary heights. “Traditional food is the result of a successful experiment,” explains Bottura. “We must continue to evolve our palates and our techniques and remain flexible in the kitchen to new ideas, ingredients and concepts. Only then can we project ourselves into the future and allow our own gastronomic evolution to follow.”  Be open to new inspiration and keep evolving.

Chef Bottura serves as an inspiration for us in our personal lives too.

“Always leave room for the unexpected. If you leave a little space in your everyday life for imagination, that’s the secret to happiness. Don’t lose yourself to obligation. It’s important to dream. Dreaming is the secret of happiness.”

Photo credit: Bruno Cordioli [flickr]