By Gavin Gibbon
Bottura's Refettorio project at Milan Expo converted surplus food into nutritious meals for the poor
World famous chef Massimo Bottura is open to working with Expo 2020 Dubai to replicate his ‘Refettorio’ project, which was so successful at the Milan event five years ago.
The seven-month pop-up ‘soup kitchen’, located in the city’s unfancied Quartiere Greco area, was launched to feed poor people by converting surplus food from the Milan Expo site’s vast catering operations into nutritious meals.
In an interview with Esquire Middle East, Bottura was asked if he is bringing the Refettorio to the Expo in Dubai later this year. He said: “It would be an amazing step if we could build on what we did in Milan here as well.”
The Refettorio was so successful that Bottura was contacted by the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, asking if he could bring the project to Brazil for the Olympics in 2016.
The Italian, who opened Torno Subito in Dubai over a year ago, then established a foundation called ‘Food For Soul’, which took the concept to other global cities and helped raise awareness of food waste.
The issue of food surplus is also high on the agenda at his Dubai venue.
Bottura said: “One of the first things we did when we signed the deal to open Torno Subito at the W Hotel, was to create an agreement between the hotel and the food bank here in Dubai, who redistribute surplus – not waste! – food to people in need outside of the city. We all have to think of the planet and have to have accountability for the actions that we take.”
To date Food For Soul has launched four full-time Refettorios (with another four in the works), having transformed more than 200 tonnes of surplus food, serving more than 80,000 people.