Opening of Refettorio Geneva on January 17, 2022

Chef Walter el Nagar, MATER Fondazione, and Food for Soul are pleased to announce the opening of Refettorio Geneva, a gastronomic and solidarity project. Located at 120 rue de Lyon, in the Charmilles district on the right bank of Geneva, the Refettorio will serve nutritious and balanced meals for people in precarious situations, isolation or exclusion, in coordination with other humanitarian organizations in Geneva. People in need will be welcomed warmly and with dignity, to offer them a moment of carelessness and well-being.

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From January 17, 2022, Refettorio Geneva will offer more than 50 free meals per evening, 5 days a week. The ambition of Refettorio Geneva and the Mater Fondazione, the projects operational partner, is to quickly manage to increase the number of meals to reach a maximum capacity every evening before the summer. At the same time, the paid lunches, used to finance the volunteer evening service, will begin on January 24, subject to obtaining the operating license, still pending with the competent services of the city of Geneva.

On the 27th and 28th of January 2022, La Mater Fondazione, led by Chef Walter el Nagar, and Food for Soul will organize the official opening of the cultural space.   Events include the launch of the Refetttorio’s evening hospitality service, nourishing vulnerable guests of the community with Food for Soul founder, Chef Massimo Bottura and a welcoming celebration to show appreciation for those who have contributed to and supported development of the project.

The Refettorio Geneva wishes to be a beacon for Social, Environmental and Economic Sustainability. It offers a daily convivial dinner for those in need of food assistance and suffering from isolation, homelessness and social marginalization. These efforts began with the “community meals” initiatives of the Mater Foundation, which prepared around 200 meals a day, packaged them and served them to the community between the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and September 2021. The Refettorio Geneva is the backdrop for MATER’s restaurant and social enterprise, which is open for lunch five days a week, for the general public and students. The services illustrate the zero-waste model in a gourmet restaurant atmosphere. They will be an extension of advocacy and skills training programs.

The Refettorio also hosts cultural activities that will highlight the beauty of its design and the city of Geneva, including conferences, workshops and artistic interventions that cultivate a shared sense of community, the creation of a place to live and know. Refettorio is specific to local community needs, while consistently providing unique food, arts, and cultural activities to stimulate social, economic, and environmental resilience, civic engagement, and land stewardship.

For MATER, the success of this new project is possible thanks in particular to the patronage of the city of Geneva, the canton of Geneva and the network that the foundation has been able to weave with associations active in social assistance in Geneva such as Partage, l Salvation Army, Le Bateau-Genève, Ma-Terre, Carrefour-Rue, Caravan Sans Frontiere, Camarada, La Farce and Serve the city. MATER and the Refettorio Geneva can also count on the support of many private patrons who believed in the project and enabled it to be completed in record time. If you would like to cover the opening gala of the Refettorio on January 28th, please quickly send an email to Walter el Nagar. A limited number of places have been set aside for the press.

Refettorio Geneva – 112 rue de Lyon – 1202 Genève – CH

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