In addition to an amazing summer Olympics, a group of chefs – Refettorio Gastromotiva – is joining the race to attack food insecurity in Rio.
Cities that are known for their elaborate celebratory nature like Miami, New Orleans, Ibiza, and Tel Aviv and are often remembered only for party scene, and oftentimes, the residents of those cities are overlooked. Such is the case with Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro is a city associated with beautiful people, festivals, and fun, and most recently, the 31st Olympic Games.
A source of contention, in the wake of the Brazilian government’s attention to the games, is its failure to address poverty and hunger concerns that have persisted for some time now. In the true nature of humanitarianism, a group of chefs have taken up the government’s slack and formed “Refettorio Gastromotiva,” an initiative that will serve those in need of food and nutrition by cooking with surplus ingredients from the Olympic Village in Rio.
Italian chef Massimo Bottura (Food for Soul), Brazilian chef David Hertz (Gastromotiva) and journalist Ale Forbes formed Refettorio with the mission to feed those in the city who need nourishment. The initiative will not only remain for the duration of the games, it will persist after the games are over and work as a restaurant-school with invited chefs and young talents from Gastromotiva – a Civil Society Organization of Public Interest (OSCIP) which aims to transform the lives of the socially vulnerable through food and vocational kitchen training.
Refettorio Gastromotiva is dedicated to fighting food waste, malnutrition and social exclusion. The chefs’ goal is to produce around 5,000 meals a day using only ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away. Chef Bottura got the idea for Refettorio Gastromotiva from a 2015 initiative, Refettorio Ambrosiano, that brought 65 chefs together to cook meals using donated ingredients from the 2015 Milan World Expo.
Chef Hertz told Reuters, “Refettorio Gastromotiva is going to work only with ingredients that are about to be wasted … like ugly fruit and vegetables, or yogurt that is going to be wasted in two days if you don’t buy it.”
Refettorio is an Italian word meaning “recuperate and restore,” and the twofold goal of the initiative is to do just that – recuperate food headed to the garbage bin, and restore the dignity of those who have been overlooked by society.
The kitchen will offer free dinner for vulnerable populations and, from October on, lunch for the public, under the ‘pay for lunch, leave dinner paid” concept.
More than 45 renowned chefs from Brazil and all over the world are slated to make an appearance during the inauguration period of Refettorio Gastromotiva.
To learn which chefs will be present and to find out more about the kitchen, follow their social media (Twitter: @RefettorioBR; Facebook: Refettorrio Gastromotiva; Instagram: @refettoriogastromotiva) and check out their Web site at http://www.refettoriogastromotiva.org.