The prestigious Espresso guide “I Ristoranti d’Italia” has awarded a Canadian the title of best cook in Italy: Jessica Rosval, 35, arrived in 2013 from Montreal and was welcomed at Casa Maria Luigia, a luxury bed & breakfast run by Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore a few kilometres from Modena.
In just eight years of work, she has conquered the top of Italian cuisine, arriving almost by chance, following her fiancé who had won a master’s degree at Bocconi in Milan and asked her to follow him to Europe.
To celebrate, the two took a trip to Emilia and went to dinner at the Osteria Francescana in Modena: here Jessica was struck by the dishes of Massimo Bottura, who had been awarded a third star the year before and had completely renovated the restaurant and the kitchen.
From there, a chat with the chef and a subsequent interview were enough to decide to stay in Modena. Until 2019 she worked at La Francescana, then came the official opening of Casa Maria Luigia and the two founders, including Bottura himself, had no doubts: responsibility for the restaurant’s cuisine could pass into Jessica’s hands.
With the experience she has accumulated, the 35-year-old Canadian has also become responsible for the external events of the Francescana galaxy, and the spirit of knowledge, openness and welcome promoted by Food For Soul, the non-profit organisation set up by the Bottura-Gilmore couple, has prompted her to become the culinary director of “AIW, Association for the Integration of Women”, a wonderful integration project for migrant women developed by her friend Caroline Caporossi.
In an interview with ‘La Cucina’ she said: ‘The goal of integration is a two-way street, where you meet in the middle. Each woman takes from her native cuisine and we find a way to integrate it into the local culture, without forgetting. We must always remain proud of our origins“.