By Marquaysa Battle
August 15, 2016 09:15 AM
David M. Benett/Getty

When it comes to fighting hunger, Chef Massimo Bottura is going for the gold.

The critically-acclaimed chef and owner of Osteria Francescana — the number one restaurant on the esteemed 50 Best Restaurants list — is using the food surplus from the 2016 games to give back to the homeless in Rio de Janeiro, reports the New York Times.

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“I thought, this is an opportunity to do something that can make a difference,” he said. On Wednesday, the restaurateur organized over 50 chefs to volunteer in shifts at the Refettorio Gastromotiva, his pop-up dining hall in downtown Rio. Among the celebrity chefs were names like Alain Ducasse, Virgilio Martínez Véliz and Joan Roca.

The chefs weren’t serving up any old fare, either. Catering companies that supply the Olympic villages donated the ingredients used to create the dishes like the Italian-style couscous with sautéed beef and panzanella— prepared by famed Brazilian chef, Alex Atala.

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The project seems to have touched down in Rio right on time. The city’s homelessness has risen 2% to 3% a year, reports the LA Times, with around 16,000 displaced individuals counted in a recent census. Additionally, several soup kitchens have been closed or decreased their food offerings due to low state funding, according to Fox News.

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For Bottura, the act was symbolic of a larger message. “This is not just a charity; it’s not just about feeding people,” he said. “This is about social inclusion, teaching people about food waste and giving hope to people who have lost all hope.”

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