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Massimo Bottura and OzHarvest's New Surry Hills Refettorio Will Offer Free Lunch to Those in Need

Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney is opening its doors in a converted Surry Hills terrace house on Thursday, February 24.
By Ben Hansen
February 11, 2022
By Ben Hansen
February 11, 2022

One of the world's best chefs has teamed up with the legends at OzHarvest to convert a 100-year-old Surry Hills home into Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney, an eatery with the goal of feeding those in need.

Massimo Bottura is the culinary powerhouse behind three Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana, which has previously claimed the top spot on the prestigious World's 50 Best Restaurants list. Bottura has set up Refettorios in cities across Europe, North America and South America in collaboration with his not-for-profit organisation Food for Soul.

Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney is his first venture in Australia and is set to open on Crown Street from Thursday, February 24, providing free-of-charge lunches to Sydneysiders in need of food assistance Tuesday to Friday.

The restaurant was initially teased in 2019, but was delayed due to COVID-19 according to OzHarvest Founder and CEO Ronni Kahn AO.

"It has always been my dream to open a venue where vulnerable people can enjoy good food in exquisite surroundings and be treated with dignity and respect," Kahn said. "When I first met Massimo, it was like two meteors colliding and the result has helped this dream come true!"

Bottura mirrored this sentiment, "When I met Ronni, I knew OzHarvest was the perfect partner for the first Refettorio in Australia — we have the same passion, determination and goodwill which you need to get a project like this off the ground!"

The Surry Hills eatery will apply OzHarvest's zero-waste policy to its lunches, rescuing ingredients that may have gone to waste and using them to create gourmet meals. The venue can seat up to 50 diners and will offer up a continually changing menu based on the produce available that week.

"It's a warm hug we give our guests," Bottura says. "When people ask what a Refettorio is, I describe it as a cultural project that shares beauty and hospitality in a different way, where we treat our guests like we do at our restaurants."

When the restaurant is not being used to serve patrons, the space will be used to run education programs through OzHarvest and will be offered to local charities. The wider Sydney community will also have the chance to experience the restaurant later in the year through a series of events and neighbourhood dinners.

If you'd like to lend a helping hand to Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney you can apply to volunteer or donate to OzHarvest via the organisation's website.

Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney will open at 481 Crown Street, Surry Hills on Thursday, February 24. It will be open to anyone facing food insecurity midday–2.30pm Tuesday–Friday.

Images: Nikki To

Published on February 11, 2022 by Ben Hansen
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