Refettorio Gastrovmotiva in Rio di Janeiro provided nutritious meals for the homeless using surplus food from the Olympic village in 2016

Massimo Bottura the renowned chef and owner of world’s number 1. restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, is founder of Food for Soul – a nonprofit, cultural project working with communities to fight food waste in the interest of individual wellbeing by offering food and dignity to people in situations of social vulnerability.

Massimo collaborates with chefs at Refettorio Ambrosiano in Milan. Quality food prepared and served in quality tableware instead of plastic, reinforces Food for Souls principle aim of reducing waste and providing an all-round enriching experience in the soup kitchen.

Culture. Nourishment. Community.
Massimo believes “Cooking is a call to act” and that hunger may be relieved by creative management of daily food wastage. Food for Soul is his non-profit organization that promotes social awareness about food wastage and hunger through a wide range of initiatives in collaboration with chefs, artisans, food suppliers, artists, designers and institutions. Importantly, he states Food for Soul is not a charity project but rather a cultural one. Food for Soul provides an enriching soup kitchen environment for the homeless where nourishment is not only meant to be for the body, but also for the soul. Their projects are infused with art, design and beauty to engage the guests in a holistic approach to nourishment: feeding the body and the soul. Their core mission rests on the value of beauty as a common ground for community development and well-being; with food, art and creativity being a universal language.

Food for Soul worked with renowned chefs (including Alex Atala) in Rio during the 2016 Olympics to provide healthy, nutritious meals for the homeless using surplus food from the Olympic village

 “People cannot live by bread alone. Art and culture are the heart of this project: ethic and aesthetics go hand in hand, as two sides of the same coin.” Massimo Bottura

Food for Soul started off with Refettorio Ambrosiano – a contemporary soup kitchen in an abandoned theatre. During ExpoMilan 2015, Massimo brought 60 international chefs to cook for the homeless with only food leftovers from the world exhibition. Artists, architects and designers contributed to the project to create a unique space. 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. The Refettorio Ambrosiano continued on and now run by Caritas Ambrosiana serves meals 5 days a week to the homeless people of Milan. Outside the building a neon sign by artist Maurizio Nannucci bears testimony to Bottura’s conviction: NO MORE EXCUSES.

RefettoRio Gastromotiva in Rio di Janeiro. Quality plates and glassware replace plastic; art decorates the walls and guests are served meals by the volunteers and chefs: this simple gesture of human contact and social exchange creates a dynamic of inclusion and acceptance.

“We NEED MORE places that UNITE people at the table
We NEED MORE places that REVIVE neighbourhoods
We NEED MORE places that RESTORE the body and the soul”
Massimo Bottura.

Food for Soul aims to:
– Raise funds to renovate abandoned spaces in peripheral and neglected areas;
– Prepare healthy, seasonal and delicious meals from the surplus food of supermarkets, local markets and suppliers that would have otherwise been discarded;
– Invite people in need, local volunteers and chefs from around the world to share a place at the table and enjoy a meal together.

Since that successful beginning, Food for Soul have established themselves to assist the many chefs who have looked to open a refettorio in their own city. From working with an already established soup kitchen in Bolonga, Food for Soul then crossed the ocean to Rio di Janeiro and set up a soup kitchen RefettoRio Gastromotiva during the 2016 Olympics cooking tasty and nutritious meals from the food surplus of the Olympic Village. Food for Soul invites everyone: chefs, students, artisans, families, food suppliers and corporate sponsors to join them and contribute to their mission. Read more about the visionary Massimo Bottura in our Field Report on shelf now.


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The 2017 Field Report is not about fleeting trends – its about quality and perfection, about bringing back traditional skills and craftsmanship. We speak to the visionaries, icons and experts who shape their unique, lasting and life-enhancing concepts for us to embrace through their designs, recipes, buildings and explorations. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #2017FieldReport.