JR and Massimo team up to feed the needy in Paris

The chef has asked the artist to work on the new Parisian outpost of his successful haute-cuisine refettorio
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JR and Massimo Bottura together in New York - don't try this at home kids. Image courtesy of Massimo's Instagram
JR and Massimo Bottura together in New York - don't try this at home kids. Image courtesy of Massimo's Instagram

One of the keys to Massimo Bottura’s successful Refettorio project has been the way he’s teamed up with like-minded organisations in cities across the world.

In Milan in 2015, the acclaimed Italian chef established his first haute-cuisine soup kitchen, Refettorio Ambroisanio in conjunction with the local Catholic organisation Caritas Ambrosiana and the artists Carlo Benvenuto, Mimmo Palladino, Gaetano Pesce and Enzo Cucchi; here Bottura and other acclaimed chefs took other bin-bound ingredients from the city’s Expo, and turned them into exceptional, healthy meals for the city’s poor.

 

Massimo with produce from the Felix Project
Massimo with produce from the Felix Project

In Brazil, at the 2016 Rio Olympics, he worked with local philanthropic organisation Gastromotiva and the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz among others, to establish his Brazilian outpost, Refettorio Gastromotiva; while in London, his partners in setting up Refettorio Felix were food charity the Felix Project and Ilse Crawford’s interior design agency, Studioilse. This year, for France’s first Refettorio, he’s reached out to the acclaimed French artist JR and the Foyer de la Madeleine charity restaurant in Paris’s eighth arrondissement.

 

Portrait of a Generation: Braquage, Ladj Ly, Les Bosquets, Montfermeil, France, 2004. From JR: Can Art Change the World
Portrait of a Generation: Braquage, Ladj Ly, Les Bosquets, Montfermeil, France, 2004. From JR: Can Art Change the World

Both are excellent choices; JR worked in the city's poor outer boroughs, helping rehabilitate the image of the city's youth following 2005 riots. Meanwhile, for the past four decades this restaurant, in the crypt of the church of the Madeleine, has been serving cheap lunches to locals, tourists and those in need; members pay €9 for the daily set menu, non-members €16, while the poor are charged just €1.

This coming spring Massimo hopes to open the Foyer up in the evening, serving healthy meals made from bin-bound ingredients to 70-90 of the city’s poor, in beautifully decorated, artful setting. To find out more about the food he’s likely to be serving, order Bread is Gold; for more on the art that’s might be seen on these walls, get JR: Can Art Change the World?


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