Getty Images / Jamie McCarthy

The chef proves even the late night show’s kitchen scraps can be turned into beautiful dishes.

Adam Campbell-Schmitt
February 14, 2018

Chef Massimo Bottura has been on a mission to fight food waste. The man behind Osteria Francescana has also started a soup kitchen in Milan with the mission of feeding hungry folks with food that would otherwise be thrown out. It’s also the focus of his new book Bread Is Gold: Extraordinary Meals With Ordinary Ingredients, which is a collection of recipes made with leftover ingredients. Last night, Bottura stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live to demonstrate to the late night host just how easy it is to turn unused food into elegant cuisine.

Bottura was tasked with scouring the writers' room kitchen at JKL—full of junk food, mostly for ingredients to repurpose into a three-course meal and the result the chef is able to achieve is, not surprisingly, pretty remarkable.

Cubed bagels plus some avocados, tomatoes, and cilantro become a Mexican-inspired panzanella (in honor of the show's beloved security guard/sidekick Guillermo). Bottura then moves onto a dish with leftover, broken bits of pasta. When it comes to pesto, Bottura says to trust your palate but avoid using rosemary or sage which are “too aggressive.” If you’re thinking about skirting his suggestion, Kimmel even pressed “What if my palate wants Rosemary?” Bottura doesn’t mince words: “Your palate is wrong.” He tops the pasta course with some popped and toasted popcorn for a bit of texture. Bottura says ideas like that come from confronting your creativity.

Finally, overripe black bananas caramelized and turned into a dessert with chocolate-coated Honey Nut Cheerios and an almond milk dulce de leche, topped with leftover ice cream.

Bottura has been busy, between being filmed for Chef's Table and opening a restaurant inside Italy's Gucci Museum. Meanwhile, the soup kitchen project started at the Universal Exposition in 2015, a gathering of chefs from around the world with the theme "Feed the Planet." According to Bottura, 860 million people on the planet don't have anything to eat and 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year, a whopping 33% of food produced. Proceeds of his new book will go toward opening more soup kitchens in Europe and North America.