Top Chefs Use Leftover Food From The Olympics To Feed Homeless


By Cooking Panda

Some of the world’s top chefs joined forces to create gourmet meals for Rio’s homeless population.

Italian chef Massimo Bottura, owner of one of the world’s top 50 restaurants, realized that the amount of food thrown away during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro could potentially be put to greater use.

“I thought, this is an opportunity to do something that can make a difference,” Bottura told The New York Times.

Along with various chefs who had traveled from across the world, Bottura created Refettorio Gastromotiva, a venture to transform the way the world thinks about food waste, hunger and feeding human dignity.”

“This is not just a charity; it’s not just about feeding people,” Bottura explained. “This is about social inclusion, teaching people about food waste and giving hope to people who have lost all hope.”

The initiative, which launched on August 10 in the Lapa neighborhood, has already become a big hit. Guests such as Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, and Brazilian actress and TV host, Regina Case, have come to take a look.

Top chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Joan Roca are among the dozens of culinary masterminds who have volunteered to serve in the kitchen. Alex Atala, owner of one of Brazil’s top restaurants, helped to create one of the gourmet evening menus with ingredients donated by catering companies working with the Olympic village.

“We are a generation of young chefs who are not competing with each other, but who want to share,” Atala said.

Bottura teamed up with Brazilian chef David Hertz several months before the Olympics in order to develop this venture. Hertz convinced Rio’s mayor to provide an empty lot for Refettorio Gastromotiva, while Bottura started the fundraising process to make the homeless dining hall into a reality.

“People right now just don’t trust each other, and most of these companies didn’t want to get involved in a project they thought could get messy,” explained Cristina Reni, project manager of Refettorio Gastromotiva.

Bottura wants to continue working with the venture after the Olympics end. By offering lunch to paying customers, he plans to use the funds to serve 108 free dinners a night. 

Source: The New York Times / Photo credit: Dado Galdieri via The New York Times

Tags: 2016 summer olympics, David Hertz, homeless, Massimo Bottura, philanthropy, Refettorio Gastromotiva
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The McDonald’s At Rio’s Olympic Park Is Unlike Any Other


By Cooking Panda

McDonald’s fans attending this year’s summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, have been disappointed to find that the McDonald’s at the Olympic Park isn’t selling burgers. As it turns out, this location only serves ice cream and dessert options. For those who were looking for familiar tastes, they will find it only in a McDonald’s sundae.

After an interview with McDonald’s Senior Director for Global Relations, David Zlotnik, USA Today reports that this is actually normal for Brazil locations. Now that I think about it, it actually makes perfect sense.

Locations in other countries cater to different cultures, and therefore serve more locally appealing foods. For example, this particular McDonald’s serves variations of the McFlurry that include chocolate candy balls or banana with muesli. We should have known!

Fans shouldn’t be too upset, though, there are 33 locations in Rio de Janeiro that serve the Big Macs and McNuggets that they are undoubtedly craving. They can even try some of the localized foods offered, like the cheese bread for breakfast. 

McDonald’s has been a long-time sponsor of the Olympics, and so it’s available at all of the games, but it has never been so limited in the Park locations. Zlotnik said that it wouldn’t make sense to build something different this year, since the games are so spread out. Fans will probably be ready to forgive once they’ve had their Big Mac fix at one of the other locations.

Sources: USA Today, Yahoo News / Photo credit: Fortune

Tags: 2016 summer olympics, mcdonald's, Rio de Janeiro
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Attention Chip Fans: Lay’s Is Bringing You 4 New International Flavors To Try


By Cooking Panda

With the 2016 Summer Olympics fast approaching, Lay’s wants to ensure that fans nationwide have a wide variety of chips to snack on while watching the talent on-screen — which is why the company has decided to bring four international flavors of Lay’s chips to all its stateside fans in honor of the occasion.

According to the press release, the four new popular flavors will be available in stores starting on July 25.

“This summer, all eyes will be on the global stage, reminding us of our desire to travel and explore the world. While most of us can’t just hop on a plane, all of us can travel through our taste buds,” Jeannie Cho, vice president of Frito-Lay marketing, said in the press release. “The Passport to Flavor program invites consumers to try four delicious new global flavors, while also giving them a chance to win a variety [of] different trips and travel-related prizes.”

Lay’s cites a recent Mintel study, which demonstrated that three out of five people now claim to have become more adventurous when it comes to sampling ethnic cuisines, as an additional inspiration for bringing the flavors stateside.

Check out the list of flavors, courtesy of the press release, below:

  • Brazilian Picanha – the potato chip captures the flavor of Picanha, the finest cut of Brazilian steak, which is skewer-grilled with coarse salt to lock in flavor with a mix of chimichurri sauce.
  • Chinese Szechuan Chicken – The regional Sichuan Pepper is where takeout favorite Szechuan Chicken gets its name. The potato chip embodies the dish with the tongue-tingling sensation of “mala.”
  • Greek Tzatziki – Made up of a mix of dill, garlic and other unique spices added to yogurt, Tzatziki is a Mediterranean classic.
  • Indian Tikka Masala – Packed with flavorful spices like turmeric and cumin, the tomato-based dish Tikka Masala is a fixture in global cuisine.

Sources: Lay's via PR Newswire / Photo credit: Lay's/Twitter

Tags: 2016 summer olympics, chips, Frito-Lay, lay's, olympics
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