A lot of people feel that the Olympics are the picture of waste, especially when they are located in a place like Rio which is known for its homeless and poor. However, Master Chef Massimo Bottura did his part to change that image by practicing what he preaches when it comes to sustainability.
The Italian master chef has utilized the leftovers from Olympic caterers and worked with local partners to create a soup kitchen for the homeless while he was has been in Rio for the Olympics. The gourmet food is more than most of its patrons have seen in their lifetime, and they are very grateful to have a moment to get transported out of their lives.
The soup kitchen is called RefettoRio Gastromotiva which in Latin translates to ‘restore’ as a nod to the dining rooms that are found in monasteries where help is provided. Many people are complaining about the $12 billion it cost to put on the Olympics in Rio, but Bottura looked for a way to make sure that when it comes to food at least there would be no waste.
Every year over 230 tons of food is supplied to cater meals for the 60,000 coaches, athletes, and other staff members. At the end of the day there is a great deal of waste, but this Olympics at least it will not go to waste. Bottura stated that he did not create the soup kitchen as charity however, but as a cultural project that will help the local people rebuild their dignity.
This is not the first time that Bottura has reached out to help the poor. He claims that it is Pope Francis’ continual advocacy for the poor that has guided him towards doing what he can to change lives. Last year following the Milan world fair he created a similar gourmet soup kitchen at an old abandoned theatre.
His projects are grand in scope and allow the poor some dignity as they dine, because unlike government centres that offer bland food on prison food trays, at the Refettorio actual wood tables were put out. The walls were decorated with a long mural created by Vik Muniz and oversized photos created by JR the French artist were placed along the walls.