Massimo Bottura to open Refettorio soup kitchen in Geneva on 27 January
If there’s a chef who understands the responsibility that comes along with worldwide reputation and fame, it’s Massimo Bottura. His foundation, Food for Soul, a project conceived with his wife Lara Gilmore, opened up the first Refettorio in 2015, in Milan, during the world expo, which aimed to answer the question of how to feed the planet in a sustainable way.
The maiden Refettorio was an instant success, the world’s best chefs joined Bottura – the likes of Adrià, Ducasse, Redzepi, Colagreco, Aduriz, Humm, Roca, Akatz, Romito, Alléno, Arzak, Martinez, Cedroni and many others – to cook for those in need. A Food for Soul Refettorio is more than a soup kitchen, it’s a cultural project. The idea is that those in need shouldn’t only be fed, they should be received in beautiful rooms, with artworks and great cooks.
Fast-forward six years, Refettorios are now in many global cities, including Paris, Rio, New York, San Francisco, and in London at St Cuthbert’s. On 27th January 2022, Massimo Bottura will inaugurate the latest Refettorio in Geneva, a project curated in partnership with the Mater Foundation.
“When the call to act is in our heart, we can achieve our biggest dreams. This is the passion and commitment of our partner Mater and the peaceful nature of Geneva, to care for humanity and to make a revolution as a global family,” said Massimo Bottura, a UN Ambassador for Environment Goodwill.
The Swiss city has always made a priority of the provision of vital social services – it’s where the eponymous conventions were signed and the home to the highest number of international organisations, from the UN to the Red Cross – and the pandemic showed how many vulnerable people live in the area. Mater has served over 28,000 meals using 15 tons of reclaimed ingredients.
“The Refettorio will be the nexus of everything beautiful in this city,” added Walter el Negar, the chef in charge of the project, “solidarity, diplomacy, agriculture, science, innovation and advocacy, everything around good food. Plus it will help expose the myth that Geneva is a city free of problems and poverty.”
Food will be served in the evening to those experiencing homelessness and marginalisation, in a fine-dining atmosphere. During lunch, the Refettorio will work as a social enterprise, open to the public and university students.
The project works in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development objectives, reconciling gourmet cuisine with environmentally friendly local production and social responsibility, within a circular economy project. Through the collection of data, it will also contribute to research on food recovery systems.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Courtesy of Food for Soul / Refettorio Geneva