Massimo Bottura is an Italian chef from Modena, Italy. He has been working as a chef for over 30 years and has recently found a way to use his talent to advocate for the hungry. About one-third of the food produced around the world turns into food waste. To solve this issue, in 2016 Bottura founded the nonprofit association Food for Soul to empower communities to fight food waste and use extra food to feed the hungry.
Food for Soul is an organization where well-known chefs, both locally and globally, come to transform discarded ingredients into healthy meals. Professional staff maintain these kitchens to ensure long-term successes. Bottura’s foundation is an impactful gesture as well as a call to action.
It began with a transformation of a theater in Milan into a soup kitchen. The kitchen turned more than 15 tons of leftover food into meals for the poor and refugees. At first, many local residents were against the Food for Soul project and believed it would bring addicts and refugees into the community. Bottura had many skeptics but gained respect in the community after he expressed his permanence. Protesters then understood the commitment of everyone involved and the vision they stood by, a new foundation to feeding the hungry. Many of those protesters became loyal volunteers.
Food for Soul is working to create community kitchens around the world and expand this concept. “This reflects the way I grew up,” Bottura has stated, “hundreds of cheese makers who see the power of working together with a single voice.”
Food for Soul has had a large impact, saving approximately 25 tons of food surplus to date and making it into healthy meals. This movement has been captured in the documentary “Theater of Life.” The film shows the project unfold in Milan and its influence around the world.
So far, Food for Soul has established kitchens in Milan, Modena and Bologna and is working on an initiative in London. Food for Soul is an initiative for empty stomachs, approaching the issue of hunger in a new way.
– Brandi Gomez