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Refettorio Felix _ London _ Massimo Bottura

“IF YOU HAVE THE ENERGY OF MASSIMO AND OUR TEAM, IT’S LIKE A KIND OF MAGIC. OUR INTEREST IS TO MAKE SPACES THAT MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY.”


There’s a powerful synergy to Refettorio Felix: the energy and drive of chef Massimo Bottura, the empathy of designer Ilse Crawford, and the tireless conviction of The Felix Project. But, as with most powerful ideas, the end result adds up to even more than its individual components. As Bottura puts it: “London is a city full of challenges and inequalities. Food waste is rampant. There are growing concerns about food poverty and social isolation. Refettorio Felix is not just a place where people come to eat a meal. It is a place for inclusion, engagement, and sharing, where everyone can feel welcomed and be inspired.”

Bottura’s idea to serve food to those in need using surplus ingredients is one of those accidents which turned into a powerful doctrine for life. In 2015, the celebrated Italian chef put his three Michelin stars to radical use by opening a temporary soup kitchen in Milan called Refettorio Ambrosiano. The idea was to highlight food surplus and waste, while feeding the vulnerable. The only thing that’s changed about the project’s mantra is that it’s no longer temporary, and it has taken off worldwide. Bottura says that the moment he realised that he’d created something unstoppable was when one of his chef friends visited the Refettorio Ambrosiano. “René Rezdepi came to cook in Milan, and he said: ‘You know Massimo, this is for life.’ And yes, he was right.” Bottura and his wife Lara founded Food for Soul with the aim of taking their vision of good food, cooked well, and set about fighting food waste and feeding the hungry anywhere in the world that wanted their help. “In 2016, we built Refettorio Gastromotiva in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics. Soup kitchens were closed to hide the so-called ‘ugly’ side of the city from the spotlight of such an important occasion. So, we decided to open our community kitchen.” It’s a typical Bottura gesture – those in charge wanted to hide poverty and deprivation, he wanted to highlight it.

Refettorio Felix opened at St Cuthbert’s in Kensington, London this year, serving lunch to around 100 people a day. First, the space had to be transformed from what had been a functional, slightly dismal community space. This is where designer and creative director Ilse Crawford of Studioilse came in. She worked pro bono, and persuaded furniture and design companies to donate their chairs, tables, furnishings, cutlery, and glasses. St Cuthbert’s now has that uncanny air of a place that looks familiar, yet entirely different. The walls are a darker, more calming shade, the lighting more soothing, the plants plentiful.

Crawford, revered by many in her profession, doesn’t talk like any designer I’ve ever met. In her opinion, it isn’t about how a design looks, but rather about what it does. “Design is not an aesthetic,” she argues. “It’s a methodology that allows you to find the right answer. Staying the same is never the right answer.” It’s a powerful mantra, and one which fits Bottura’s vision entirely. As Crawford says: “If you have the energy of Massimo and our team, it’s like a kind of magic. Our interest is to make spaces that make people happy.” Crawford, who’s also head of the Man and Wellbeing design course at Eindhoven University, has created a mind map of provocative words for her students, which uses phrases such as ‘the fight to be human’, ‘things that last’, ‘make the normal special’, ‘together through food’, and ‘we are the system’, all of which, perhaps not surprisingly, suit Refettorio Felix perfectly. She also, against expectations, likes the idea that people might appropriate her ideas. “You have to be prepared to be copied if you want to make an impact,” she says. “We have to let go of the idea that we are the only people that can do it. It’s about creating the framework. We often try to do too much, but if you create a frame, people can fill it. There’s no shortage of people who want to help, if the system is there. I’m optimistic and pragmatic. Someone has to do it, start it – Massimo has started the thing. He’s doing it in a viral way, and he wants
people to copy him.”

The third, vital part of Refettorio Felix is, of course, Felix himself. Felix Byam Shaw was only 14 years old when he died suddenly from meningitis in 2014. He was a remarkable boy whom his friends and family adored. Ask anyone who knew him, and they all say the same thing: he was full of kindness and compassion for others. The Felix Project was founded to celebrate those qualities, and now a fleet of Felix vans, driven by volunteers, collects surplus food from supermarkets each morning and delivers it to centres for the homeless and vulnerable. Refettorio Felix is one of those places.

If there’s one gesture that embodies everything that Bottura, Crawford, and The Felix Project try to do, it’s that those who eat at Refettorio Felix have their food brought to them at the table. Bottura puts it like this: “Our guests include both the homeless, and individuals and families in situations of food poverty, food insecurity, and social vulnerability. By using quality tableware and restaurant style service, we want to make each guest feel valued and bring a sense of dignity back to the table.” His conviction that people should not have to queue for their food, but rather be served, came to him when he opened the original refettorio in Milan. “I still remember the very first nights there, when people were silently sitting at the table and eating their meals. A couple of guests barely spoke to each other. But a few weeks later, every night was a huge party; guests, volunteers, and chefs were sharing the same table and the same meal. We knew each other by name. Hospitality can lead to social inclusion through the simple gesture of serving meals at the table and saying, ‘Hi, how was the soup?’”

On the day that Refettorio Felix opened, Bottura himself cooked, and fittingly, began with soup. “It was a great responsibility. We served a soup that I called ‘Soup of Everything’, because it was the result of many different vegetables enriched with a broth made from Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rinds. Then we served pasta with pesto sauce, made with humble breadcrumbs instead of pine nuts; and finally, we served an Earl-Grey-tea-and-biscuits ice cream to honour the wonderful food culture of the UK. But this meal is only one example among many others created by the chefs and the resident kitchen team following the same principles — it is healthy and nutritious; it is seasonal, thanks to the products that The Felix Project delivers to our door every morning; it is made by recovering food surplus; it is genuine and heart warming; and it is delicious.” In many ways, that first meal sums up this remarkable venture by bringing together passionate volunteers who are trying to make things better for others, whilst honouring the legacy of a boy everyone loved. It really is a ‘Soup of Everything’.

WORDS: Charlie Lee-Potter
PHOTOS: Rory Gardiner

via cerealmag

#CHICEATS: ROOFTOP RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

1) Aroma, Rome: Avoid the crowds and sit high above the Roman ruins, with a picturesque scene of the ancient Colosseum.

2) Le Loft, Vienna: Inside the Sofitel hotel in Vienna is Le Loft: a high-rise restaurant fit for the artful city. With a mosaic ceiling and tall glass windows, Le Loft offers modern cuisine using local ingredients.

3) Sixty-Five, New York: Enjoy cocktails and bar bites at the newly opened Sixty-Five, located on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Take in the soaring panoramic view of every iconic New York City skyscraper.

4) Sushi Samba, London: Sushi Samba may be a chain, but its London outpost is located on the 38th and 39th floors of a towering skyscraper. Floor-to-ceiling glass panels offer guests the opportunity to overlook the old-meets-new architecture of London, with a side of Japanese-meets-Brazilian-meets-Peruvian cuisine.

5) Vertigo and Moon Bar, Bangkok: Sixty-one stories above the glittering city of Bangkok is Vertigo and Moon Bar, located in the Banyan Tree hotel. The open-air grill serves a selection of steaks, seafood, salads and tropical cocktails.

6) Le Jules Verne, Paris: Consider the Eiffel Tower your rooftop in Paris—Le Jules Verne is the monument’s official restaurant and overlooks the city of lights while serving a prix-fix menu by famed chef Alain Ducasse.

7) Spago, Istanbul: Wolfgang Puck’s newly opened Spago restaurant in Istanbul is located at the top of the St. Regis hotel. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls offer views of the historic city with a traditional menu serving everything from hand-cut tortellini to a roasted baby beet salad.

8) White Rabbit, Moscow: Perhaps the most whimsical restaurant in all of Moscow, White Rabbit serves a tasting menu inspired by the chef’s travels, which look equally like something out of Alice in Wonderland: think glass test tubes full of flavored liquid on ice, and sorbet served on an artful wooden basket. Located under a paneled glass dome, the restaurant offers sun-streaked views of the Kremlin.

via Bazar mag

Doria 44, Chic B&B in Milan


Located in a Sixties stye residential building with wide windows and balconies with plants overlooking viale Andrea Doria, Doria 44 is two minutes walking from Corso Buenos Aires, one of the busiest shopping roads in the world.
The view from the balcony includes two important buildings of the famous milanese architect Gio Ponti: Montedoria building (1970) with its diamond cut green tiles and the Pirelli tower (1961), a landmark of modern architecture in Milan: definitely it is a tipical metropolitan milanese view.

Doria 44 welcomes its guests with a spectacular full wall size black and white photo of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of the icons of Milan, that is in the living room where the breakfast is served and it is possible to enjoy time for reading and for music. The furniture match italian design with handicraft works. Doria 44 is next to different bar and restaurants so that the area is lively and safe until late night, though not noisy and not affected by heavy traffic.



Each bedroom is nominated after the place of Milan that is represented in the black and white blow up image over the bed. The purpose is to create an effect of a window open to the city.

The homeholders (Giancarlo and Alessandro) offer cooking lessons ruled by chef Andrea Sposini that includes also the choice of the products at the food market. More details at andreasposini.com.This is a great opportunity to know the variety and some secrets of italian cuisine between tradition and innovation.

Via Doria44.com


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