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.