Food for Soul: a chef against food waste

Food for Soul: a chef against food waste

May 31, 2018

Food for Soul: a chef against food waste

Massimo Bottura has launched an international movement that aims to offer high quality meals to the most unfortunate people, whilst combating food waste by using unsold food going out of date in supermarkets and restaurants.

Three Michelin stars, chef and owner of the Osteria Francescana in Modena, voted the best restaurant in the world in 2016 according toBest 50 World's Restaurants (he finished second in 2017). Let's talk about Massimo Bottura, the illustrious name in Italian cuisine on an international level. From Tokyo to Melbourne, Bottura is also at the forefront in the social field: in 2015, during the EXPO, the Refettorio Ambrosiano was inaugurated in Milan on his own initiative. The project: bringing together some of the greatest chefs in the world, to cook alongside him for the city’s homeless, using food deemed unsuitable for sale in supermarkets, while ensuring the quality of the dishes and making his own distinctive mark. At the time, the place chosen for the initiative was Milan’s Central Train Station, which was experiencing a real humanitarian crisis due to the arrival of a large number of migrants and asylum seekers. But then, thanks to the help of Caritas, a local priest, Don Giuliano, and the Pope, the Refettorio Ambrosiano officially opened its doors in Greco, a poor neighborhood in the northern suburbs of Milan. And even if it was designed to be a temporary place, the Refectory Ambrosiano is still open today.

Refectories all over the world

Strong from his success, Bottura did not just limit himself to Milan. Thus, thanks to the non-profit organization Food for Soul, founded together with his wife, he has opened three other sites: the first is located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was inaugurated during the 2016 Olympic Games. It was called Refettorio Gastromotiva, and has quickly become an important center for the local community, continuing to offer meals but also professional courses aimed at young people in the favelas. The other site is found in London, and is called Refettorio Felix. It was opened during the London Food Month festival in June 2017. And finally, a few months ago, in March 2018, the Refettorio Paris was born, thanks to the collaboration between Food for Soul and Le Foyer de la Madeleine, in the crypt of the Madeleine church in the heart of the city.


Global movement

Bottura is convinced: "Food for Soul will become a global movement to fight food waste and hunger. We must not let ourselves be discouraged by the difficulties we may encounter: three years ago in the center in Milan there were protests from the residents who believed the Refettorio Ambrosiano initiative would be a threat as it would only encourage undesirable people to congregate in the area. Soon, however, seeing how the joint work of architects, artists and chefs themselves led to a marked improvement in the neighborhood, many of them started collaborating as volunteers." 

The key word of Food for Soul is not only social, but also "sociality": gathering together to share the joy of a meal and even fighting loneliness along with hunger and waste.

Find out more about Food and sustainability

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