Refettorio Felix celebrates its first birthday!

A year on from launching Refettorio Felix at St Cuthbert’s, we celebrated our food saving and community dining successes over the last year.

On a hot evening this July, staff, trustees, partners, supporters, chefs and volunteers gathered together in our dining room to celebrate a momentous milestone; the one year anniversary of launching Refettorio Felix.

This celebratory occasion gave us a chance to reflect on the Refettorio’s amazing achievements and also look towards our plans for the future .We were particularly pleased to have our partner Food for Soul here from Italy, as well as representatives from the other Refettorios that exist in Brazil, Italy and France.

With paint still drying on the walls, we officially launched Refettorio Felix on the 5 June. Chef Massimo Bottura was here to kick off the first day of service – setting a high precedent for quality and hospitality that was emulated by a six-week succession of guest chefs like Angela Hartnett, Giorgio Locatelli, Michel Roux Jr and Brett Graham. We are so pleased how many chefs chose to return to our kitchen over the last year – a testament to the ongoing success of our lunch service.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve served an eye-watering 16,630 meals and made use of approximately 18,000 kg of surplus ingredients. For this to be possible, we rely on the hard work of many volunteers but also the generous support of trusts, corporate sponsors and individual donors.

We were hugely grateful to many of our supporters who made the anniversary evening possible. This included Restaurant Associates who whipped up delicious canapes, Cambridge Gin and Ferrari Trento who provided tasty tipples served by a bar provided by Cater London. We paid tribute to our Italian connection with Parmeggiano Reggiano who provided a glorious cheese wheel and homemade gelato from Carpigniani.

We ended the evening feasting on an indulgent birthday cake made by our supporter Harrods. We are all looking forward to what the year ahead brings and celebrating an even bigger birthday next year!

In 2017, Food for Soul chose St Cuthbert’s Centre as the site of their first UK-based Refettorio. Establishing this Refettorio was a whirlwind adventure and a learning curve for everyone. To make it possible, we formed a new partnership with The Felix Project, a charity who rescues edible ingredients that would otherwise go to landfill and delivers them to our door. Thanks to the expertise of the fabulous design team at Studioilse, our space was transformed in a matter of weeks into the shared dining concept that exists today.