Photography: JR

Massimo Bottura has assembled an all-star cast of collaborators on his new soup kitchen – Refettorio Paris – including artist JR and fellow foodies, Alain Ducasse and Anna Sophie Pic.

The Italian chef’s latest venture takes over the vaulted crypts of the L’église de la Madeleine Catholic church in the city’s 8th arrondissement. Refettorio Paris will turn some 130 kg of recycled foodstuffs into free meals for the city’s poor every day, using rubbish-bound but viable ingredients from the city’s top restaurants and the nearby Rue de Sèvres Carrefour Market.

‘To feed the planet is not to produce more, it is to fight the waste,’ says Bottura. ‘How to fight it, with the beauty of the imagination of the chefs, the artists … With beauty, we will rebuild the dignity of those who come eat here.’

JR and sculptor Prune Nourry have created artworks for the restaurant’s interiors, including a pair of cupped hands that embrace the brick-vaulted corridors leading into the restaurant. In the dining hall an installation of floating clouds hang above chairs and tables.

Bottura’ has called on 50 chefs to volunteer in the kitchen – which will remain open indefinitely – including Ducasse, Pic and Yannick Alléno. It will serve 100 meals per day to the city’s low-income, homeless and migrant residents.

The Refettorio Paris follows on the heels of Massimo Bottura’s Refettorio Ambrosiano in Milan, and chef David Hertz’ Refettorio Gastromotiva in Rio de Janeiro. Other Brazilian outposts include Refettorio Gastromotiva, Recife and Salvador de Bahia.

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