What better place is there to reimagine the concept of a community kitchen than the city of love? Il Refettorio, a community kitchen that feeds and benefits the disadvantaged, is doing just that with help from Salesforce. It opened four months ago in one of the most iconic churches in Paris — La Madeleine — and provides an engaging and inspiring space where people in vulnerable situations are welcome.
Il Refettorio Paris is the fourth community kitchen of its kind in the world. The original concept comes from Massimo Bottura, chef at award-winning Osteria Francescana and one of the world’s most celebrated cooks. Bottura imagined a place where food from restaurants that would otherwise go wasted would be collected and expertly prepared for the people who need it most. Il Refettorio Paris offers a welcoming dinner service for the community, using strictly surplus ingredients.
Salesforce France has adopted Il Refettorio Paris among nonprofits that it helps to support, not only with money but with volunteering. Salesforce France employees have volunteered 810 hours of their time welcoming guests and serving meals. In addition, more than 2,900 volunteers have registered on a Salesforce-hosted and built online platform at refettorio.force.com, and Salesforce has donated funds to Il Refettorio.
“The beauty of Il Refettorio Paris, the energy that surrounds this place, and the smiles from the guests when we connect with them make us feel blessed and honored,” said Olivier Derrien, Salesforce Senior Vice President and country leader for France.
Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff has taken an interest, having been connected to Il Refettorio by well-known French artist and photographer JR. Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris also recently hosted an annual CEO dinner at the restaurant.
“Thanks to you, we had a wonderful experience yesterday in a magical setting in Paris,” said Rodolphe Plouvier, Executive Committee Member, Generali, after dining at Il Refettorio. “Congratulations to the entire Salesforce team for your values. It was a lovely, inspiring and motivating evening.”
The video above provides glimpses of the restaurant’s ambience, the community members who are fed there, and the work that goes on behind the scenes.
There is more to come. Salesforce will help support the launch of an Il Refettorio food truck in Q3 of 2018 to engage with refugee camps. The company will also provide support to other Il Refettorio restaurants in London, Milan and Rio.