After the rewarding experience of Refettorio Ambrosiano during Expo2015, we wanted to continue working with communities, volunteers and chefs to bring our community kitchen model to a location outside of Italy.

The Rio Olympics 2016 proved the perfect opportunity. In the run-up to the games, we collaborated with the local non-profit foundation, Gastromotiva, to locate and renovate an abandoned space for the new Refettorio Gastromotiva in the vibrant neighbourhood of Lapa, in central Rio. To fulfil the dream, the Brazilian studio METRO Architecture, the artist Vik Muniz and the designers Fernando and Humberto Campana all helped to design and decorate the dining space.

 

During the games, around 80 eminent chefs, both Brazilian and international, joined Chef Bottura in the refettorio. They transformed leftover food from the Olympic Village into 3,000 healthy and nutritious meals that were were served to the homeless from the local area. With so much international attention on Rio at that moment, the project has an amazing chance to raise awareness about food waste as well as social issues like food poverty and food insecurity.

 

Today, thanks to the ongoing dedication of Gastromotiva, the Refettorio Gastromotiva has become a lasting legacy for the city. It continues to run a lively community kitchen, opening every weekday evening to offer free meals created from surplus ingredients provided from a supermarket supplier called Benassi. In February 2017 alone, more than 1200 local people from socially vulnerable situations benefited from the dining service.

It’s not all about serving food - the refettorio is also an important hub for social projects offering lectures and educational workshops to encourage healthy and sustainable eating habits. The refettorio it’s part of a vocational cooking program for young culinary talents from the favelas who after get the chance to gain experience and employment within the refettorio.

For more information visit the refettorio’s dedicated website: www.refettoriogastromotiva.org