AAR celebra lo chef Massimo Bottura al McKim Medal Gala 2023

Color photograph of a light skinned man wearing glasses, a white shirt, and a blue suit; in his hand he holds up the medal that is draped around his neck
Massimo Bottura (photograph by Thomas Razzano/BFA.com)
Color photograph of two women and three men wearing fancy gala clothes and standing in a single row in front of a thick garden background
From left: AAR Director Aliza Wong; Board Chair Calvin Tsao; Gala Chair Margherita Marenghi Vaselli; AAR President Mark Robbins; and Chef Alice Walters (photograph by Thomas Razzano/BFA.com)
Color photograph of two men and woman in fancy dress walking on a pathway in a Roman garden
Arrivals approaching Villa Aurelia (photograph by Gerardo Gaetani)
Color photograph of dozens of people standing and talking with cocktails
Before dinner, attendees gathered outside Villa Aurelia to socialize in the late spring evening (photograph by Riccardo Lopez)
Color photograph of a man wearing a white costume and hood, standing in front of potted lemon trees, and playing a flute like instrument into a microphone
The Roman artist Emiliano Maggi, who designed the gala table centerpieces, performs before the dinner (photograph by Riccardo Lopez)
Color photograph of five light skinned people posing for a selfie in a Roman villa garden
Guests enjoy cocktails and selfies in the Villa Aurelia’s gardens (photograph by Riccardo Lopez)
Color photograph of a round dinner table set with plates and silverware; in the middle is a green sculpture of a human head
Each table held a centerpiece sculpture by the Roman artist Emiliano Maggi (photograph by Riccardo Lopez))
Color photograph of dozens of people sitting at round tables at a benefit gala; the room is lit with red lights
Inside the tent at the McKim Medal Gala (photograph by Giovanni Mocchetti/BFA.com)
Color photograph of a man standing and speaking at a podium on the left, and people seated at round dinner tables on the right
Calvin Tsao, Chair of the Academy Board of Trustees and a 2010 Resident, delivers remarks at the beginning of the medal ceremony (photograph by Thomas Razzano/BFA.com)
A distant view of the McKim Medal Gala (photograph by Riccardo Lopez)
The disc jockey at the McKim Medal Gala After Party (photograph by Riccardo Lopez)

The American Academy in Rome honored chef and entrepreneur Massimo Bottura at the latest McKim Medal Gala at Villa Aurelia in Rome on June 7. The annual benefit, one of the most awaited events of the spring season, recognizes the achievements of exceptional individuals in the arts, culture, and humanities. The evening raised over $750,000 to support the American Academy and its fellowships, including the Italian Fellows program, which offers artists and scholars of Italian nationality a unique opportunity to live and work within AAR’s vibrant cultural community.

In a year that saw “Italian cuisine between sustainability and biocultural diversity” nominated as a UNESCO intangible heritage, the Academy awarded the prestigious prize to Massimo Bottura, the most celebrated Italian chef in the world, owner of the Osteria Francescana, a three-star Michelin restaurant in the historic center of Modena, twice awarded as the best restaurant in the world by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. The ceremony took place in Rome in the splendid Villa Aurelia, on the Janiculum Hill.

The sold-out event, chaired by Margherita Marenghi Vaselli, and attended by distinguished guests from Italy and the United States, celebrated the creative and intellectual dialogue that crosses the borders of the two countries. The Honorary Gala Chairs were Ginevra Elkann and Maria Teresa Venturini Fendi, and the Founding Gala Chair is Verdella Caracciolo de Benedictis. At Villa Aurelia, in front of big names in culture and fashion, Bottura emphasized the importance of the “cultural recognition, for the first time in history, of cooking.”

“We were delighted to honor Massimo Bottura with this year’s McKim Medal,” said Mark Robbins, AAR President and CEO. “The gala is a chance to celebrate creativity and the humanities which are fundamental to the mission of the American Academy. The innovative work of Chef Bottura elevates the everyday while contributing to stronger, more equitable communities.”

“I would like to thank everyone who attended the Gala, and in particular Massimo Bottura for his inspiring words, and all the sponsors whose participation helps support the Academy and its activities,” said Gala Chair Margherita Marenghi Vaselli. “The evening’s success demonstrates once again the fruitful link between the Academy and the city of Rome and the importance of dialogue.”

The Corporate Patron for the evening was Lottomatica. The event’s Corporate Supporters were: Assicurazioni Generali; Bloomberg; BSF Boies Schiller Flexner; BVLGARI; Carla Fendi Foundation; Chiomenti; Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP; Dior; Fendi; Fincantieri; Gagosian; Gianni & Origoni; Giorgio Armani; Jefferies; Moncler; Rocco Forte Hotels; Spring Studios Srl; Tikehau Capital. . Wine for the evening was provided by Cantina Paolo e Noemia d’Amico, and the prosecco was provided by FIOL Prosecco D.O.C. The Academy gratefully acknowledges Society Limonta, as well as Virginia Valsecchi of Capri Entertainment for video production.

The McKim Medal

The McKim Medal was established by the American Academy in Rome in 2005 as an annual prize that honors an individual whose work—most particularly in Italy and the United States—has contributed significantly to the arts and humanities. Proceeds from the McKim Gala support the American Academy in Rome’s Italian Fellows program, which provides a unique opportunity for Italian scholars and artists to live and work as part of the Academy’s dynamic international community. Previous McKim Medal laureates include Luca Guadagnino, Paola Antonelli, Roberto Benigni, Sir Antonio Pappano, Paolo Sorrentino, Carlo Petrini, Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano, Cy Twombly, Umberto Eco, Franco Zeffirelli, Ennio Morricone, Miuccia Prada, Luigi Ontani, Riccardo Muti, and Bernardo Bertolucci. The McKim Medal was designed by Cy Twombly and handcrafted by BVLGARI.

American Academy in Rome

Established in 1894, the American Academy in Rome (AAR) is America’s oldest overseas center for independent studies and advanced research in the arts and humanities. The Academy has since evolved to become a more global and diverse base for artists and scholars to live and work in Rome. The residential community includes a wide range of scholarly and artistic disciplines, which is representative of the United States and is fully engaged with Italy and contemporary international exchange. The support provided by the Academy to Rome Prize and Italian Fellows, and invited Residents, helps strengthen the arts and humanities.

Press inquiries

Andrew Mitchell

Director of Communications

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Maddalena Bonicelli

Rome Press Officer

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