The Refettorio (“refectory” in Italian) is the work of Michelin-starred Italian chef Massimo Bottura through his charity, Food for Soul, in collaboration with The Felix Project, a UK nonprofit that delivers surplus, in-date food from supermarkets to charities that can use it to feed people in need. It functions as a services center and soup kitchen, serving restaurant-quality lunches to the homeless and hungry, five days a week.
The Refettorio is located at St. Cuthbert’s Community Centre, in the hall of a former Victorian-era church that’s been given a pro-bono redesign by Crawford (with architect Charles Wainright). For practical improvements, Crawford interviewed the center’s staff and volunteers to learn how the space could better serve its guests. Aesthetically, her aim was to beautify, adding a “universal pleasure that is often missing from social projects.” Let’s take a look.
Photography courtesy of Refettorio Felix.
The Refettorio is located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which is one of the most economically divided boroughs in London.
In addition to the dining hall, the building has a dedicated reading lounge, private counseling rooms, and comfortable seating for movie nights.
In May of 2017, Food for Soul received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to open two similar dining halls in US cities by 2019.
For the kitchen’s opening last June, Mossimo Bottura served soup, pasta, and ice cream. For the rest of the month, other chefs took turns—including superstars Alain Ducasse and Margot Henderson.
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