Refettorio Paris: Food for Soul Opens at the Madeleine Church

Refettorio Paris: Food for Soul Opens at the Madeleine Church

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Refettorio Paris. Photo: Shehan Hanwellage

After Milan and Rio de Janeiro, Paris gets its own Refettorio…

As Refettorio Paris opens its green wooden doors, so launches the latest project from triple Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura’s “Food for Soul.” Every evening, this canteen– located in the crypt of the magnificent listed neo-classical La Madeleine Church– will serve comforting meals to the capital’s most needy.

Refettorio Paris. Photo: Shehan Hanwellage

It will do this with support from superchefs including Alain Ducasse, Yannick Alléno, Michel Roux, Daniel Boulud, Massimiliano Alajmo etc. taking it in turns at the stoves. As part of the drive to combat food waste, dishes will be prepped with fresh ingredients nearing their sell-by dates – some products from the shelves of the Carrefour Market on Rue de Sèvres.

Refettorio Paris. Photo: Shehan Hanwellage

The team of chefs will recycle about 130 kg of food – partly collected from the Carrefour Market store – by the Ile-de-France Food Bank – transforming it into delicious, nourishing, balanced meals. The start-up Phenix– of which Carrefour and its Foundation are partners – will also supply Paris Refettorio as well as Accor/Hotels, Fauchon, Banque Alimentaire, Metro and generous neighbors from the quartier.

“Refettorio Paris combines ethics and the aesthetic, this is not a charity project, it’s a cultural one based on Food for Soul’s founding principal,” explains chef Bottura.

The architecture is by Ramy Fischler (RF Studio) and Nicolas Delon (Encore Heureux architects), and Refettorio Paris is also adorned with works by contemporary French artists Prune Nourry and her partner JR, known for their multi-disciplinary installations in public spaces worldwide. In the future, a rotating selection of artists will be invited to contribute to the history, life and soul of Refettorio Paris, beginning with Afghan artist Kubra Khademi.

People are welcomed – in a warm and friendly setting – by volunteers who wait tables between 6:30 pm- 8 pm. If you want to get involved , reach out via the website:

Chefs Alain Ducasse and Yannick Alléno at Refettorio Paris. Photo: Shehan Hanwellage

Need to Know: Food For Soul

Food for Soul, a non-profit organization founded by Massimo Bottura, aims to encourage local communities to combat food waste while also promoting social inclusion and individual wellbeing. The first Refettorio — Refettorio Ambrosiano, Milan, Italy — was set up during Expo 2015. Additonal Refettorio were subsequently created in Brazil (Refettorio Gastromotiva, Rio de Janeiro) and the UK (Refettorio Felix in St Cuthbert’s Church, West London), as well as Italy (Social Tables Ghirlandina, Modena) and Social Tables Antoniano, Bologna. “It’s necessary to give something back, use everything, waste nothing,” insists Bottura.

Refettorio Paris. Photo: JR artist

About Carrefour Corporate Foundation

Created in 2000, Carrefour Corporate Foundation runs sponsorship programmes alongside retailers in the countries where Carrefour operates. With an annual budget of €6.75 million, Carrefour Foundation funds nearly 100 programs annually.

Massimo Bottura

Gregarious, charismatic, talented, triple Michelin-stared chef/owner of Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy, number 2 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Bottura’s second Modena address, Franceschetta58, is located in a former tire shop. Then there’s the recently launched Gucci Osteria at Gucci’s Garden Galleria, Palazzo della Mercanzia, Florence and Torno Subito opening at W-Dubai – The Palm – in June.

Massimo Bottura and JR artist, Refettorio Paris. Photo: Shehan Hanwellage

Need to Read:

The book Bread is Gold, by Bottura and Friends, takes a holistic look at the subject of food waste, with 150 recipes for three-course meals from 45 of the world’s top chefs, including Daniel Humm, Mario Batali, René Redzepi, Alain Ducasse, Joan Roca, Enrique Olvera, Ferran & Albert Adrià and Virgilio Martínez. BIG’s recipes turn everyday ingredients into inspiring dishes that are delicious, economical, easy to make – and proceeds from book sales (€39.95) are donated to Food for Soul.

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Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !