Chef Massimo Bottura appointed UN ambassador against food waste
The UN chooses chef Massimo Bottura as Goodwill Ambassador within the UNEP program for the environment. The only Italian among the seven “goodwill ambassadors”.
58 years old, a failed lawyer, with his Osteria Francescana in Modena, Bottura has twice won the ranking of the best restaurants on the planet. He is the most famous Italian chef in the world. But it is for his social commitment that the UN has chosen him. Convinced that chefs have great power even outside the kitchen (“Together we can lead change and build a better world” he declared), in 2015 Bottura opened the first refectory for the needy in Milan. And from Italy he then brought his solidarity canteens to France, the United Kingdom and overseas, from the United States to Mexico. In 2016 he founded the non-profit organization Food for Soul, together with his wife Lara Gilmore, against food waste, in favor of social inclusion.
For that project, Bottura received the Compasso d’Oro 2020. “It nourishes the body and comforts the spirit” reads the motivation. And for the same project the UN chose him today. The appointment comes on the occasion of the first International Day of Awareness on food waste and losses.
“If we are able to use all the ingredients to their maximum potential, we will reduce the amount of waste and learn how to shop more efficiently” commented Bottura. Even today, in the world, one third one third of the food produced is wasted. The loss generates 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And more than 800 million people go hungry. “In my role as Goodwill Ambassador, I will fight to remedy this global shame.” Cooking must be an ethical choice, not just a matter of taste, according to Bottura. Which with the refectories of Food for Soul has already recovered more than 125 tons of food surplus, transforming them into over half a million meals for the needy.
During the lockdown, his family also created an online cooking show, called Kitchen Quarantine, which encouraged viewers to see the invisible and unexpected potential in each ingredient.
We are the revolution
“There was a moment in which I realized that a chef, through culture, has the right and the duty to represent something more than the sum of his recipes,” Bottura wrote today in a post. “After receiving so much from life, I felt the need to give back, to share with the world my vision of the meaning of ‘Feeding the Planet’ through Food for Soul, Il Tortellante and Kitchen Quarantine. I think that today the World has understood the value of the Humanistic Revolution taking place, which I am sure will unite the most sensitive minds and souls of the Planet. I thank the United Nations for this incredible opportunity and I will do everything to continue on this path because, as J. Beuys said, “We are the Revolution” ».