Everything began in Chef Sola's family's kitchen, with culinary traditions passed down from his grandmother to his mother. Massimo spent his childhood surrounded by colors, aromas and fresh pasta. Massimo gleefully listened, tasted and inadvertently learned to cook simple, basic, classic northern Italian fare. The experience wasn't so much about which dishes his family made, but rather how they made them. Long before farm-to-table was a ubiquitous trend, it was Massimo's way of life, with herb and vegetable gardens just outside his grandmother's door and a farmers' market in town. The kitchen, the markets — these became Chef Sola's milieu. They were a passion and a life philosophy first, an occupation after.
This same simplicity and balance of taste defines Chef Sola's dishes to this day: matching a few perfectly chosen ingredients with the techniques and precision necessary to turn a dish into a true sensory experience — as he says, "cooking, like any art, is a means of expression, a symphony where color, ingredients and flavors play."
Simplicity is also a distinctive personal trait of this quiet, humble man — an ambitious dreamer who remains a pragmatic technician as well. Most chefs consider a Michelin star the official validation that one has arrived; for Massimo, such recognition was appreciated but mainly a milestone to be passed with additional intensity, continuing to transfer the values passed to him by his family to his culinary creations. His eternal mission: to pay exquisite attention to authentic flavors and exceptional Italian cuisine, promoting its simplicity above all.
LEARN FROM WATCHING OTHERS COOK, FROM GRANDMOTHERS
TO GREAT CHEFS-THEN MAKE IT YOUR OWN.
Chef Sola's lifelong professional dedication has taken him to all corners of the earth, enabling him to absorb the techniques and working styles of the world's greatest chefs. This in turn imbued him with the mastery necessary to manage the operational dynamics of large restaurants' kitchens like no one else.
While at Eataly Roma, Massimo trained and supervised some 120 cooks. Armed with his knowledge, a team of a dozen could serve a staggering 2,500 to 4,000 meals a day. Chef Sola's deep sense of humanity helped him instill his experience in those young cooks, ultimately making them self-sufficient and able to stand on their own feet, working as a team to achieve culinary greatness.
Serve big, stay small, take care of each individual and make every dining experience count: That is the mantra of a true maestro.
“TO COOK AMAZING FOOD THAT MAKES PEOPLE
HAPPY IS THE GREATEST JOY.”
What makes a good chef? Says Massimo: "You must have it in you." It's a job you must love, because it's not always easy. It takes sacrifice and dedication.
Chef Sola's abiding goal to imbue others with his passion for traditional, simple and authentic Italian cuisine. His achievements are impressive and legion, yet he never slacks off. Indeed, he’s currently filled with enthusiasm and passion for a new challenge: opening Sola Pasta Bar and Sola Lab in New York.
In these locations, just as in his recipes, Massimo will combine experience, research, rigor and creativity while never forgetting “young Massimo” and the sense of awe he felt in his grandma’s kitchen, where everything began.
Massimo is in fact one of the few star taste ambassadors who is truly self-taught. Talent and tenacity launched his career, along with the passion for quality and authentic Italian cuisine he inherited from his family.
“WITH GREAT LOVE COMES GREAT FOOD.”
True culinary sensitivity is a mixture of passion, humility and mastery of craft. Being attuned to diners' needs led Chef Sola to develop proprietary techniques to ensure that even those with Celiac disease and gluten allergies can enjoy an exceptional plate of pasta.
Massimo's careful attention to dietary requirements stems from the fact that his own two children have Celiac disease, yet he nonetheless wants to be able to share his love of fine pasta with them. Passing on the love of such traditional Italian fare as lasagna, tagliatelle, cannelloni, gnocchi and ravioli, whatever one’s dietary restrictions, is central to Chef Sola's mission.
He applies that same care to his guests at Sola Pasta Bar: Those with Celiac and gluten allergies are equally able to taste every one of his specialties. Enjoying good pasta is an experience all should enjoy.