I first encountered Chef Massimo Bottura when I watched the first episode of Chef's Table. Chef's Table is different from the greasy food you see on Triple D or the intense competitions you see on the Food Network. It highlights the most renowned chefs from around the world and their journeys through the culinary world.

The first episode featured Massimo Bottura and all of the roads he took to becoming the chef and owner of a three-Michelin-star restaurant.

His pure love and appreciation for food and Italian cuisine inspires him to create dishes that no one has seen before. It’s enough to make me want to travel to Modena, Italy just to drop hundreds of dollars to experience his food.

He changed the typical “mother's home cooking” style that dominated Italy by putting his own Massimo spin on it all. He incorporated his childhood favorites in outrageous ways that broke the many traditions people were used to.

His feature on Chef's Table taught me valuable lessons about life, inspiration and Parmesan cheese.

Look at the world in non-traditional ways.

Massimo takes the things he has loved as a child and throughout his life and uses it as an influence to create his own style. Everything from the dishes his grandmother used to make, to the art his wife has shown him, is evident in his cooking.

The experiences that you encounter in everyday life can fuel your passion and inspire your work. He also chooses to look at the world from a different and uncommon perspective. 

Use mistakes to move you forward.

The kitchen at Osteria Francescana is where Massimo and his team bring ideas to life. His team of chefs help him piece all of the intricate components together.

Once, his Sous-chef dropped one of the last lemon tarts before service. While looking at the splattered ingredients on the counter, Massimo didn’t even flinch. He saw the broken tart as something beautiful and used it to create his, “Oops, I dropped the lemon tart” dish.

Massimo uses mistakes and mishaps to fuel his creativity. It taught me that mistakes aren’t made so you go backward; if you look at them the right way, they can propel you forward.

Learn from the tools that fuel your passion.

Massimo has a huge appreciation for the ingredients he puts into his dishes. He respects every ingredient and uses them to their fullest potential.

If you have good ingredients, you help the ingredients to express themselves. It's not just about the traditional uses, but what he can do to transform them into foods that no one has eaten before.

He doesn't just focus on the big picture, he focuses on using everything in front of you to create something great no matter what you're doing. 

Take inspirations from other aspects of life.

His inspiration to go against the previous generations of Italian cooking came from a mural of pigeons that were pooping on all the other artwork below—total badass move.

He understood the idea of that art piece, and it made him realize what he had to do to be successful in his own career. Regardless of what the true intentions were, he used it as guidance for himself. Instead of staying within the culinary world, he was able to take the ideas from a different field of work and apply it to his own. 

Appreciate the good stuff.

“In my blood, there is balsamic vinegar, and my muscles are made by parmigiano." Massimo loves his quality Parmesan cheese. He even went as far as creating a recipe that helped save the Parmigiano-Reggiano business after an earthquake hit Modena.

He loves watching people experience good cheese almost as much as he loves to eat it. You can see Massimo's passion and happiness on his face when he is eating a chunk of true Parmigiano-Reggiano. He isn't embarrassed to show his full appreciation for the good stuff in his life, no matter how small it seems.

Massimo Bottura is a genius and goofball, who also happened to change the Italian kitchen. His passion and love for food is inspiring, even through a TV screen. His ability to go beyond what was expected and create food that means so much to him has shown me what it is like to truly love what you do.