I did not expect to catch a glimpse of heaven in a TIME magazine article about food waste. But then I started reading about Massimo Bottura, a world-renowned chef who has twice won best restaurant of the year (in the world, that is). Bottura was asked to cook for the 2015 World Expo in Milan. Instead, he decided to invite other revered chefs to cook with him in a pop-up restaurant with two unexpected features.
One, they would use food waste to create the gourmet meals.
Two, they would invite the city’s homeless to dine there for free.
As it happened, the Pope heard about this idea and suggested it become permanent.
So now every night at Refettorio Ambrosiano (and 12 additional spinoffs around the globe), 100 people who are on the margins of society–”runaways, refugees, the homeless, the unemployed”—receive a 3-course feast created by volunteer chefs and served by volunteer waiters:
“Dinner guests are greeted by name. They dine on fine china at tables created by the country’s most sought—after furniture designers, under works of art that would not be out of place in a contemporary art museum. The waiters are courteous, and the chefs have trained under the finest restaurateurs in the world. The set menu changes daily, depending on what comes in with the morning’s delivery.”
These hours every night testify to the inherent goodness and beauty of each person who walks through the doors. There is nothing explicitly religious about it. Yet this shared meal gives us a glimpse of what the kingdom of God looks like.
Learn more with Amy Julia:
- Friday Favorites and AJB Recommends
- Ruth and the Quartet of the Vulnerable
- The Quartet of the Vulnerable and Justice
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