Rio Olympic Chefs Use Leftovers to Feed the Poor

Leftover food from the Olympic Village will not go to waste, with Italian chef Massimo Bottura instead using the food to set up a "three-course" soup kitchen to help those in need. 

Bottura, who is in charge of feeding more than 11,000 athletes, is one of the most well-respected chefs in the world. His restaurant, Franciscan Osteria in Modena, Italy, has received a coveted three Michelin stars and was voted the best restaurant in the world, according to The Huffington Post. Along with Brazilian chef David Hertz, he hopes to make a social impact during his 16-day stint in Rio.

The two decided to open up a restaurant in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Rio and have converted an abandoned building into a high-class soup kitchen. They will use the 12 tons of leftover food to provide people with free three-course meals that include an antipasto or pasta, a main course and a dessert. 

The project, known as RefettoRio, was inspired by a similar initiative in Italy last year, when chefs provided the homeless with meals using leftovers from the Milan World Expo, reports Metro.  

"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," said Hertz. "We want to fight hunger and provide access to good food."

The meals will be "gluttonous and [filled with] nutrients," said Bottura. "[We] want to promote a conscious use of food as a whole, where food recovery aligns the recovery of human dignity."

RefettoRio plans on continuing long after the Olympics and Paralympics leave the city, instead using leftover food from nearby restaurants. It also hopes to provide vocational training to aspiring chefs, encouraging them to make nutritious choices and use fresh fruit and vegetables. Bottura and Hertz's lease on the abandoned building is set to last the next 10 years.

Around 30 to 40 percent of all food produced is never eaten because it is either thrown away or goes bad before it can be eaten. According to Metro, almost 800 million people around the world face the realities of hunger every day. 

Sources: Metro, The Huffington Post / Photo credit: Flickr

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