Refettorio Paris, a collaborative project between Food for Soul and Le Foyer de la Madeleine, has completed its first day of service last Thursday. Massimo Bottura, founder of Food for Soul, teamed up with two of the greatest names of French cuisine: chef Yannick Alléno, accompanied by his team, and chef Alain Ducasse with Romain Meder, executive chef of Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, to create recipes on the spot using recovered surplus ingredients. Guests were welcomed by a celery velloutée with parmesan cream, followed by a rich first course of lamb and aubergines, and two desserts: chocolate ice cream with banana compote and banana chips, and a tangerine purée with rocket.
Meals cooked at Refettorio Paris are created with ingredients donated by Carrefour, Le Banque Alimentaire, Métro France and Phenix, a start-up whose aim is to fight food waste and empower supermarkets in the transition towards a circular economy. Products and ingredients from several restaurants of the AccorHotels group are going to be recovered and cooked in the services to come.
More than 80 women, men and children of all ages were invited to Refettorio Paris by intermediary associations, such as Emmaüs Solidarités and Aurore shelters. They had the unique opportunity to be the first diners to seat at the tables of the transformed dining area curated by architect Nicola Delon and designer Ramy Fischler, and enriched by installations from renewed artists JR and Prune Nourry. A team of hard-working volunteers served the guests at the table, contributed to run the service smoothly and created a convivial and cheerful atmosphere. More than just providing a warm meal, Refettorio Paris aims to create and stimulate human exchange.
Before the service, Massimo Bottura, Jean-François Rial (President of Refettorio Paris and CEO of Voyageurs du Monde) François-Xavier Staub (President of the Foyer de la Madeleine), architect Nicola Delon, designer Ramy Fischler and the partners of the project presented Refettorio Paris to a crowd of 200 attendees.
Massimo Bottura stated the importance of ethics and aesthetics as one: “As Camus said, beauty cannot make revolutions. But one day, revolution will need beauty. This is a revolutionary project”.
Refettorio Paris will now stay open indefinitely to offer a daily dinnertime service from 6:30PM to 8PM to people in situations of social vulnerability. In the coming weeks, guest chefs will take a turn cooking in the kitchen. Many have already answered the call launched by Massimo Bottura. Among those: Massimiliano Alajmo, Juan Arbelaez, Pascal Barbot, Moreno Cedroni, Enrico Cerea, Mauro Colagreco, Bertrand Grébaut, Christophe Hache, Daniel Humm, Jean Imbert, Merlin Labron Johnson, Nino La Spina, Tatiana Lehva, Gregory Marchand, Olivier Roellinger and Michel Troisgros.
Refettorio Paris relies on women and men who share the same mission, as well as on companies that support the project and help us to make it strong and sustainable. From the beginning, Jean François Rial and Les Voyageurs du Monde, have been integral to the establishment of the project through financial support and the involvement of their teams. The financial support of Salesforce allowed for the renovation of Le Foyer de la Madeleine as well as the establishment of the Refettorio team, who will run the everyday operation. Salesforce employees have already volunteered 100 hours to create an app based on Salesforce logistic cloud, which will help manage the activities of the community kitchen, and have committed another 600 hours to support the service. AccorHotel Group supports the project and confirms its commitment in the fight against food waste and social vulnerability. Finally, Kering Group supports the longevity of Refettorio Paris.
As Food for Soul’s official partner for three consecutive years, Grundig has confirmed its commitment by supporting Refettorio Paris. Deeply engaged in the fight against food waste and aligned with Food for Soul’s values, Grundig launched the Respect Food initiative to create a world where resources are used with respect and care. By adopting the philosophy “wasting food is wasting life”, Grundig invites everyone to fight food waste starting from their kitchens. As a European full-range manufacturer, Grundig continuously sets new standards with its high-quality products in terms of design, innovation and resource-efficiency. The brand remains true to its brand attributes including its German heritage and extensive experience of the market, its user-friendly and elegant design, high standards and quality control. With its innovative technologies, Grundig will epower Refettorio Paris in the fight against food waste, and will help maximize food longevity while ensuring a lower waste of resources.
Contributions from different actors will continue to enrich the identity of Refettorio Paris in the months and years to come. JR and Prune Nourry have already invited young artists to contribute to the spaces, starting with Afghan artist Kubra Khademi. Members of the Collège Culinaire de France will regularly visit Refettorio Paris and cook together with the resident team, led by young chef Maxime Bonnabry-Duval.
Individual donors can support the mission via the website www.refettorioparis.com