French top chefs Alain Ducasse and Yannick Alleno joined Massimo Bottura for the opening of Refettorio Paris yesterday at the historic Madeleine church where celebrity chefs and culinary students will transform surplus food from supermarkets into meals for the homeless.
The Italian chef, famous for his world renowned restaurant Osteria Francescana has set up a foundation Food for Soul after the Milan Expo with the intention of opening soup kitchens across the world with the aim of feeding the world’s poor with food that would otherwise be thrown away. In the process, he has sought the support of some of the world’s best chefs who go to these soup kitchens to cook and share their knowledge.
Refettorio Paris is located in the crypt of the church of La Madeleine, in the heart of Paris. The Refettorio or soup kitchen will offer a welcoming dinnertime service to vulnerable members of the community including homeless, rough sleepers and refugees.
Professional chefs are invited to join the team and cook in the kitchen using surplus ingredients that would otherwise go to waste to make nutritious three-course meals for guests.
Thanks to the creativity and vision of a dedicated team of artists, architects and designers, Refettorio Paris is an inspiring social hub where people can experience the joy of sitting together and share a meal in an inclusive atmosphere.
The word Refettorio comes from the Latin reficere, meaning ‘to re-make’, but also ‘to restore’. It was originally a place where monks gathered together to share their daily meal.
With the help of different partners, the foundation of Massimo Bottura Food For Soul restores and renovates neglected spaces transforming them into inspiring community kitchens, open Monday to Friday, where people in situations of social vulnerability can feel welcome, and where the local community can rediscover the value of the abandoned and the potential behind food surplus.
Bottura said the project should not be called a ‘charity’ but a cultural project, to combat food waste.”
Refettorio Paris is the latest opening from Bottura’s non-profit organisation Food for Soul, whose goal is to fight food waste and hunger with the help of his chef friends around the world.
And after Rio de Janeiro, Milan, Modena, Bologna, London and Paris, Bottura revealed that momentum is growing around the world, with discussions currently underway to expand the model to cities across North America, including Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, Boston, and Merida, Mexico, along with New York and Detroit. “The more people we involve, the more it will change the world and spread,” he said.
Guests who dine at Refettorio Paris may be fed by some of the top chefs in France and the world, including culinary heavyweights like Michel Troisgros, Alain Passard, Olivier Roellinger apart from Ducasse and Alleno who cooked on the opening night.
Refettorio Paris is now open for dinner Monday to Friday for the city’s homeless, vulnerable and refugees.