Special event

Past Event

A series of socio-culinary events on food waste inspired by world-renowned chef Massimo Bottura

This spring, the Phi Centre presents a series of events linked to Theater of Life, a multi-platform project including a website and a documentary by Peter Svatek co-produced by Triplex Films and the NFB, in collaboration with Phi Films.

Theater of Life is based on the efforts of Massimo Bottura, an internationally renowned Italian chef and activist committed to feeding the hungry and reducing the shocking waste of food throughout the world. At the heart of the project is the Refettorio Ambrosiano, a soup kitchen in Greco, a disadvantaged neighbourhood in the suburbs of Milan, which daily uses food that would otherwise be wasted to feed the homeless, political refugees, workers, and immigrants.

To pursue this investigation of food waste, the Phi Centre hosts a series of events including an exhibit, a conference, gastronomic dinners, and chef-run culinary demonstrations.

Very special thanks to the dedicated teams of the restaurants Raymonds, Candide, Park, Accords, Patrice Pâtissier, Pujol and Osteria Francescana for their commitment, time and effort throughout the project!


Massimo Bottura

Culinary visionary Massimo Bottura is no stranger to thinking outside the kitchen. At the vanguard of a new generation of Italian chefs, his work both as an innovator and restaurateur has consolidated his reputation as one of the world’s most creative culinary figures. Massimo’s internationally renowned three Michelin star restaurant, Osteria Francescana, is currently second on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants listing. Massimo is also known for applying his creativity to bigger picture social issues, such as the Food for Soul project which commenced in Milan and created meals from repurposed food scraps. He engages the public in community projects aimed at bringing dignity back to the table.

Theater of Life documentary

Theater of Life is a feature-length documentary directed by Peter Svatek and co-produced by Triplex Films and the NFB in collaboration with Phi Films, Les Films Séville, and Super Channel. Theater of Life tells the story of Massimo Bottura, a world-famous Italian chef and activist, and what happens when impoverished members of society, wrestling with their personal demons and the challenges of daily existence, are treated to new taste sensations and brief moments of beauty and happiness. Svatek paints a compelling portrait of just a few of the individuals who frequent the Refettorio: political refugees, the homeless, blue-collar workers, and immigrants. With a poetic sensibility, the film highlights contrasting realities, raises social issues, and spotlights society’s spending habits. More than a film, this multi-media project - including a digital platform – offers an experience as nourishing to the eyes as it is to the soul.

The Refettorio Ambrosiano

In 2015, chef Massimo Bottura renovated an abandoned theatre in Milan’s disadvantaged Greco quarter to open a new type of soup kitchen. Under his guidance, the Refettorio Ambrosiano became a communal gathering place where food waste generated by the 2015 Expo in Milan, Italy, could be used to feed political refugees, the homeless, blue-collar workers, and immigrants. In a delightful setting light years removed from that of the traditional soup kitchen, forty internationally renowned chefs – including Canadian chefs Antonio Park, Jeremy Charles, and John Winter Russell - took turns cooking up a storm at the Refettorio Ambrosiano. Expo 2015 is over, but the Refettorio Ambrosiano continues to feed the hungry.

La Tablée des Chefs is a non-profit organization that has for mission is to feed people in need and to develop the culinary education of youth. It is also the engine of social involvement for Chefs, Cooks and Pastry chefs. Through its food chores and its Sustainable Food Brokerage Service, La Tablée des Chefs redistribute annually more than 498 000 servings of food to people in need. The organization also offers culinary training programs that focus on basic cooking techniques and the principles of healthy eating. Les Ateliers du Frère Toc are offered in every Youth Centers of the province in order to develop teenagers culinary autonomy and encourage the acquisition of tangible skills needed to complete daily tasks. Les Brigades Culinaires program is offered in 60 high schools, to more than 1 200 teenagers, in 14 regions across Quebec.

Air Canada is the official airline sponsor of Theater of Life.
Air Canada is Canada's largest full-service airline and the largest provider of scheduled passenger services in the Canadian market, the Canada-U.S. transborder market and in the international market to and from Canada.

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