Dishing up 60,000 meals a day, the massive dining hall feeding the athletes in the Rio de Janeiro summer Olympics is bound to produce some food waste. A single meal in the athlete's village uses an average of 250 tons of raw ingredients, potentially producing a staggering amount of excess over the 16 days of competition. That realization was why one of the world's most celebrated chefs decided to step in to make sure that food surplus goes to those who need it most.
Italian chef Massimo Bottura—whose restaurant, Osteria Francescana, was recently declared the best in the world on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list—recruited other celebrated chefs to join him in creating a once-in-a-lifetime dining hall in Rio. However, the restaurant's guests aren't celebrity swimmers or high-powered Brazillian politicians, but rather members of the city's swelling homeless population.
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"I thought, this is an opportunity to do something that can make a difference," Bottura tells The New York Times of his motivation for the project. Volunteer cooks and servers from Japan to Germany have joined Bottura and his collaborator, Brazillian chef David Hertz, to create a gourmet dining experience—called the Refettorio Satromotiva—using discarded ingredients from the Olympic Village and other sources. The restaurant offers lunch to paying customers in order to cover the costs of 108 free dinners each night for those in need.