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World’s best chef feeding Australia’s homeless


13 April 2019 at 12:00 pm
Maggie Coggan
One of the world’s top chefs is teaming up with food-rescue charity OzHarvest to open a community restaurant for homeless people in Sydney.


Maggie Coggan | 13 April 2019 at 12:00 pm


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World’s best chef feeding Australia’s homeless
13 April 2019 at 12:00 pm

One of the world’s top chefs is teaming up with food-rescue charity OzHarvest to open a community restaurant for homeless people in Sydney.

Italian chef Massimo Bottura announced plans to open a refettorio – a restaurant where renowned chefs use rescued food to create meals for vulnerable locals – with OzHarvest last week, and praised the organisation’s CEO Ronni Kahn for her work in fighting food waste.

Over five million tonnes of food ends up as landfill in Australia, costing the government an estimated $20 billion a year. OzHarvest collects over 180 tonnes of food each week from restaurants, supermarkets and catering companies, and donates the food to charities which feed disadvantaged Australians.

Kahn said she was excited and privileged to bring the refettorio to life in Australia.

She said they were now scouting for a location to host the project and considering how best to run it.

“The offering of the refettorio is for traditionally vulnerable people, but we are looking at how it could offer a shared experience for the whole community,” Kahn said.

OzHarvest will be in charge of sourcing the supply of rescued food, finding a site for the project, and chefs and volunteers to run the kitchen.

With a location yet to be secured for the project, Kahn couldn’t set an exact date to when the refettorio would open but said it would be sometime within the year.

The pair first met in 2016, and a year later hosted a dinner at OzHarvest, where Bottura and nine of Australia’s best chefs came together to cook meals with food that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Kahn said meeting Bottura was like connecting with a “kindred spirit” that she had known all her life.

“We share the same passion, values and vision to create a better world, and are both determined to make a difference,” she said.  

Bottura runs a number of refettorios globally through his charity Food for Soul, which works with various community partners to create community kitchens that raise awareness around issues of food waste and social isolation.  

Bottura’s three-Michelin-star restaurant Osteria Francescana, was voted the world’s best restaurant in 2018.  


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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