Michelin-starred celebrity chef Massimo Bottura has taken a walk on the philanthropical side of life and opened a community kitchen in West London. Famed interior designer Ilse Crawford took on the project, while Charles Wainwright of Dust Architecture also played a part in overseeing the professional-grade kitchen and dining area.
The latest project by Bottura’s non-profit organisation Food for Soul, Refettorio Felix is located in St Cuthbert’s community centre, which has been providing refuge for London’s marginalised for the past 25 years. The Felix Project was brought on board to supply surplus ingredients from supermarkets, which are then transformed into restaurant-quality meals and served to the homeless.
Crawford saw the opportunity to design a space that provides ‘universal pleasure that is often missing from social projects’. Using a palette of pale green, punctuated with natural wood, the space is calming while still curated. Plants in terracotta pots bring the mind outside, while high-quality furnishings such as David Chipperfield’s conical Vigo sconces, kilim rugs from Larusi and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec-designed Belleville chairs bring a prestigious aesthetic to the space.
Refettorio Felix opened at the beginning of June, coinciding with the start of London Food Month. In celebration, a feast including pasta with breadcrumb pesto, soup and homemade ice cream was presented to guests. Throughout the month, a variety of celebrity chefs have their hand at cooking for patrons to help raise awareness about the community kitchen.
The dining hall serves weekly lunches to those in need, and while it’s not open to the public, anyone can volunteer and get a chance to view the space while also giving back to the community.