The community kitchen (or ‘Refettorio’) will be the first UK outpost of the three-Michelin-starred chef’s initiative, and will launch on 5 June.
It will seek to use lesser-seen ingredients, reduce food waste, and make quality food for homeless, vulnerable or disadvantaged local people.
Bottura – whose Italian restaurant Osteria Francescana topped the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2016 and came second in 2017 ‒ runs other Refettorios across Italy, in Rio de Janeiro, and is planning two USA openings by 2019.
Launched with the London Evening Standard newspaper, London’s ‘Refettorio Felix’ will be named after Felix Byam Shaw, a London-born schoolboy who died from meningococcal septicaemia in 2014 and whose family's Felix Project has been a key part of the Standard’s Food Month food waste campaign.
Top chefs including Alain Ducasse, Michel Roux Jr, Monica Galetti, Jason Atherton, Clare Smyth, Angela Hartnett, Francesco Mazzei and Ashley Palmer Watts are to volunteer at the kitchen over the summer. Shifts will begin at 8am and finish at 2pm, with the chefs then staying to eat with guests.
Following the chef residencies, the project will continue to serve meals, prepared by two on-site cooks and other guest chefs.
The site is currently undergoing a six-week renovation, overseen by design studio Studioilse led by Ilse Crawford.
Over the past 25 years, St Cuthbert’s has acted as a drop-in centre for vulnerable people in the community, including homeless people, rough sleepers and those facing issues with addiction and mental health.