World renowned chef Massimo Bottura has launched the Food for Soul organisation which is aimed at fighting food waste through creative management of daily food waste. He announced this project during the MAD symposium, organised yesterday in Sydney. Through Food for Soul, he will be supporting the opening of soup kitchens based on the Refettorio Ambrosiano model and also empowering communities around the world.
Bottura is a visionary chef, who has dedicated much of last year to a project to feed Milan’s poor during Expo Milan. The Refettorio Ambrosiano was a soup kitchen that was built in an abandoned theatre which brought together over 60 international chefs to cook using food leftovers from the Expo. During the 6 months of Expo, 100 volunteers washed dishes, mopped the floors and served over 10,000 healthy meals cooked from 15 tons of salvaged food. Long after Expo has left the city, the Refettorio Ambrosiano continues to serve meals 5 days every week to the homeless people of Milan.
By founding Food for Soul, Massimo will be pursuing the mission he began with the Refettorio Ambrosiano project. The next projects that have been announced are Torino and Rio and he is also collaborating with an established soup kitchen in Bologna in order to welcome more guests including refugeee families.
For the project in Rio, the city of Rio has donated an empty lot to create a Refettorio Rio. If sufficient support is committed, this Food for Soul project could open during the Rio Olympics. Besides working as a soup kitchen, the space will be used to give free tutelage and training to its guests to empower young people from the favelas through gastronomy.
The aim behind this newly set organisation is to encourage public and private organisations to create community kitchens around the world to promote the importance of taking back the abandon: food, spaces, people. The rejuvenation of food, spaces and people is a cultural project not only for those in need but for the good of the larger community.
The aim is to raise funds to renovate abandoned spaces in peripheral and neglected areas, to prepare healthy seasonal and delicious meals using surplus food that would otherwise be discarded from supermarkets, local markets and suppliers. They will also invite people in need, local volunteers and chefs from around the world to share a place at the table and enjoy a meal together.
In addition to being a source of nourishment, sharing a meal is a gesture of inclusion. Food for Soul said: “We converge the know-how of professionals from the world of community service, design, art and the food industry in order to guarantee a long life for each project and create convivial and engaging environments. Connecting people from diverse fields of expertise is a step toward sharing the responsibility for our collective future. We invite everyone: chefs, students, artisans, families, food suppliers and corporate sponsors can join us and contribute to our mission.”
More known for his three Michelin star restaurant Osteria Francescana, which is also number 2 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Massimo has used the creative knowledge he has accumulated at his restaurant to turn to this noble project. In January 2016 he was awarded European Chef of the Year by Madrid Fusion.
Donations to the non-profit Food for Soul will be directed to specific projects in Italy and abroad.
You can find more information on how to donate to this project here.
You can see Bottura’s speech