Just a few short weeks ago, chef Massimo Bottura won one of the most prestigious honors a restaurant owner can achieve: reaching No. 1 on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. But Bottura’s next career move may come as a surprise to some; He’s teaming up with Robert De Niro for a project in the Bronx to open a more palatable soup kitchen.
The idea first came out of the Milan Expo last year and was called the Refettorio Ambrosiano. Bottura came up with the idea of gathering the food that would have been thrown out every day during the Expo and having a different chef create a gourmet meal for the homeless and hungry each evening.The initiative saved 15 tons of food, fed a lot of people in need, and was so popular that Bottura announced his intention to open a more permanent experiment in the Bronx.
"At lunchtime, there are going to be students there; and the very best chefs in the world, the rock 'n' roll stars, will be cooking scraps for them," Bottura told Yahoo during the Milan Expo. "It's like the Pope washing the feet of the people in the street." The project even had the blessing of Pope Francis, who also inspired Bottura on his mission.
Bottura announced on Instagram his involvement with De Niro with a welcome message: "Planning the new Refettorio in the Bronx!!! 2017 with Bob," he said.