Michelin-Starred Chef to Bring His Soup Kitchen Concept to the U.S.
Massimo Bottura is one of the more respected chefs in the culinary community: His restaurant, Osteria Francescana, has earned three Michelin stars and the coveted number one spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. When he isn’t feeding affluent gastro-tourists at his Modena, Italy restaurant, Bottura is finding ways to use leftovers to feed the hungry.
One of those ways is through Refettorio Gastromtiva. The idea behind the Refettorios is simple: Chefs use surplus products from supermarkets and catering companies that would otherwise go to waste in order to create healthy and delicious meals for the community. After finding success in Italy, the initiative came to Rio’s Olympic Village last year to repurpose whatever food the athletes didn’t eat and serve it to those in need.
Since Refettorio Gastromtiva premiered at the Milan Expo in 2015, more than 15,000 meals have been served through the soup kitchen organization. Now, City Lab reports that Bottura is bringing his concept to the U.S. for the first time, thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Food for Soul, the nonprofit behind the model, is hoping to open Refettorios in at least two U.S. cities by 2019. Miami, New Orleans, Detroit, and New York—all home to populations struggling with food insecurity—are a few of the candidates being considered.
As with previous Refettorios, the organizers behind the U.S. locations will need to find spaces big enough to house bulky kitchen equipment and crowds of diners. An inviting interior is just as important as the food, as the soup kitchens will double as community centers. Food for Soul said in a release, “With help from designers, architects, and artists, each Refettorio will become an inspiring space that promotes well-being.”
[h/t City Lab]