Dining

Chefs Are Using Olympics Food Waste to Feed Brazil's Homeless

Massimo Bottura's RefettoRio Gastromotiva is an unsung victory of the Rio Games
RefettoRio Gastromotiva
Photos: Angelo Dal Bó

While most eyes are glued to the blockbuster competitions and breakout athletes at the Rio Games, the Olympics are also full of unsung heros and quiet victories. One such victory comes in the form of two chefs and a journalist who have launched a program to use food waste from the Games to feed the hungry.

With the Olympic Village churning out upward of 460,000 pounds of food a day, you can imagine the food waste that might pile up.

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Chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana, the top restaurant in the world according to this year’s World’s 50 Best awards; Brazilian chef David Hertz; and journalist Ale Forbes identified the opportunity to put surplus food to good use by launching RefettoRio Gastromotiva on August 9.

“This is not just a charity; it’s not just about feeding people,” Bottura tells the New York Times. This is about social inclusion, teaching people about food waste and giving hope to people who have lost all hope.”

Bottura, Hertz and a slew of volunteer cooks and servers fed 70 people last Thursday night alone. The one and only Alex Atala, who put Brazilian food on the global map, also showed up to lend a hand.

The program won’t end with the conclusion of the Rio Games either. Bottura’s nonprofit, Food for Soul, will continue supporting RefettoRio Gastromotiva, as it transitions to a paid lunch service whose profits will go toward free dinners for the hungry at night. (Did we mention that Bottura is also launching a soup kitchen project with none other than Robert De Niro in the Bronx?) Now that’s what we call Olympic medal material.

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