The Bronx Project is a spin-off of Bottura’s Refettorio Ambrosiano, a program he developed during Milan’s World Expo last year to salvage food from restaurants and stands that would have been thrown away and have it instead cooked for the poor and homeless by 60 top international chefs at a soup kitchen run by Catholic charity Caritas. More than 10,000 meals were cooked from 15 tons of salvaged food.
Last week, Bottura announced on social media the 2017 opening of the Refettorio Ambrosiano in the Bronx. He posted a photo of himself and De Niro looking over a piece of paper accompanied by the caption, “Planning the new Refettorio in the Bronx!!! 2017 with Bob.”
Earlier this year, Bottura, whose restaurant in Modena, Osteria Francescana, was just recently ranked the world’s best, launched the Food for Soul foundation, which aims to fight food waste and hunger by raising global awareness. Through Food for Soul, Bottura wants to support the opening of soup kitchens based on the Refettorio Ambrosiano model around the world. The next Food for Soul project will take place in Rio, during the Olympic Games: food waste from the Olympic Village will be cooked up by 45 international chefs to provide meals for people living in Brazilian slums.
Two-time Oscar winner De Niro is the owner of the popular Tribeca Grill, Nobu and Locanda Verde restaurants in New York. Currently on vacation in Italy, he visited Bottura at his Osteria Francescana in Modena last week to discuss the Bronx project.