Massimo Bottura’s NYC Soup Kitchen Harlem Refetorrio is Open

Osteria Francescana chef Massimo Bottura’s long-awaited first NYC project is slated for a full debut this fall. As previously reported, the acclaimed chef’s Manhattan debut isn’t a restaurant but one of his refetorrios, a combination of food waste-fighting soup kitchens and community centers that have several locations across the globe.

The NYC location is in Harlem at the Emanuel AME Church, at 37 West 119th Street, between Fifth and Lenox Avenues — not in the Bronx as was previously reported. The refettorio has already been delivering meals to people experiencing food insecurity in Harlem, in partnership with several local non-profits, since Thanksgiving last year, according to Tasting Table, which first reported on the development.

One of the Harlem refettorio partners is the well-regarded restaurant industry nonprofit Hot Bread Kitchen. Through the group’s Chef’s Collective program, several local chefs and small business owners have been creating up to 600 free meals each week.

When the physical space opens to the public, the refettorio will also host a job training program run by the East Harlem nonprofit Youth Action Youth Build, a group that looks to provide job training and placement to New Yorkers aged 17 to 24. At the Harlem refettorio, participants in the program will learn cooking skills and how to run all operations for the center. The program aims to help people launch careers in the hospitality industry and in food sustainability.

A core tenet of Bottura’s program is to prevent food waste, with surplus food and produce from grocery stores or markets serving as the base of the meals that are prepared at the refettorios. The most recent Instagram post from the Harlem refettorio highlighted the work of Andy Rosa, who procured more than 300 pounds of surplus produce from the Hunts Point Produce Market last week for the refettorio.

The refettorios are all part of Bottura and his wife Lara Gilmore’s food nonprofit Food for Soul, which the couple started in 2016. The nonprofit has now opened refettorios in Brazil, England, Italy, and France. Meanwhile, Bottura debuted his first U.S. restaurant, an outpost of Florence, Italy’s Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, in Beverly Hills.

In New York, the Harlem refettorio won’t open to the public until later in the fall. There’s no opening date yet, but Eater has reached out for more details.

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