What’s on the menu? The centre has to stay reactive to food donations and as such does not necessarily have a cooking style, focusing on making its food as wholesome and nutritious as possible, with clever techniques to turn waste into gold.
“We don’t have recipes and creativity and innovation is key to what we serve,” says Zoë. “It’s the spontaneous element to the kitchen! One week we could receive a surplus of bread and put it to use thickening soups, baking croutons, making bread and butter pudding or even bread ice cream. We’ve had a big lentil donation recently and are serving that in stews and pies. We don’t often get a huge amount of meat so another challenge is to change mentalities about food groups.”
Famously obsessed with art and design, hospitality in all its guises is exactly what Massimo Bottura aims to deliver. To this end, not only has Food For Soul funded a beautiful redecoration of the space to ensure it is welcoming and uplifting, Massimo also invites VIP guest chefs to cook for the community, many of whom are his friends.
“He cooked for the launch himself,” says Zoë, “and since then we have welcomed the likes of Monica Galetti, Michel Roux Jnr and Alain Ducasse, all really big names. Once every two weeks we have guest chefs come in and volunteer.”
With this kind of pedigree behind the stove, Reffetorio Felix is probably one of London’s best-kept restaurant secrets. Even with stellar connections there’s no chance of booking a table, however as Zoë confirms, “we’re always looking for volunteers – and we get to enjoy the food together too!”
At Marble LDN, we are constantly looking for ways to give back to the local community and volunteered front of house across three lunchtimes at Reffetorio Felix. A rewarding and fascinating project with an eclectic group of people from various walks of life, each with an interesting story to tell, we can’t recommend it enough. To volunteer visit: