Christmas is a time when we share a meal with those we care about. It is also a time to reflect on our good fortune and consider those who may need a helping hand.
It is perhaps fitting then that it is at this time of year that a documentary has been released showcasing how one of the world’s best chefs, Massimo Bottura, is leading a social gastronomy movement aimed at reducing food waste while also helping feed refugees and the homeless.
Bottura is the chef patron of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star restaurant, which is currently ranked as the number one restaurant in the world. The documentary “Theater of Life” follows the story of the Refettorio Ambrosiano, the soup kitchen set up by Bottura with 60 internationally renowned chefs.
Converting an old theatre into a fine dining restaurant, the chefs prepare three-star meals that were made with food that would have otherwise been thrown away. “Stale bread from the day before can become gold to so many people,” said Bottura.
Bottura works alongside some of the world’s top chefs, including Ferran Adrià from Spain’s El Bulli Foundation, Alain Ducasse from Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athenee in France and René Redzepi of Noma in Denmark. Redzepi says he was drawn to the movement because of his own family history, “Maybe it’s because my father came as an immigrant with nothing… that I’ve always been drawn to these things and think it’s natural to do it.”
Bottura opened another Refettorio Ambrosiano in Rio during the recent Olympics. He also plans to open one in the Bronx in New York in 2017, in collaboration with Robert De Niro.
As well as having a human impact, the restaurant is another step towards combatting food wastage. Around one third of food produced worldwide is wasted every year. That is approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food. It is hoped that the documentary will not only showcase some of the best of human behaviour, but also encourage households to think differently about their food waste.
The documentary has been shown around the world, and there are still a few screenings left. To see the film, check out Demand Film to find your nearest cinema. Or if you are in Sydney next week, Oz Harvest is showing a second screening, with profits from ticket sales helping feed the needy. Find out more on their website here
Watch the trailer for Theater of Life