About us

Refettorio Mérida is a cultural community hub in the center of Mérida that opened in 2020 in collaboration with Chef Massimo Bottura’s non-profit organization Food for Soul, and the Fundación Palace Resorts IAP.

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Fundación Palace Resorts IAP is an organization created in 2004 by directors of the hotel chain Palace Resorts, which operates with one target in mind: to be an organization that gives back by returning to the environment as much as it receives from it. The ultimate objective of Fundación Palace is to bring hope to people most in need and to care for the environment and its communities using our resources, time and effort.

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Food for Soul is a non-profit organization founded by chef Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore to shine light on and to invest in the invisible potential of people, places and food. By doing that, the organization aims to build a culture of value that will strengthen community resilience, open opportunities for social and economic mobility and build healthier and more equitable food systems. So far, Food for Soul has opened eight Refettorio projects around the world – community spaces where people are invited to connect around a meal and rediscover the value of food surplus and human connections.

Our Guiding Principles

Our values live through our Guiding Principles, which shape the development of our programs, define our impact and are an essential part of our culture and identity:​ ​Quality of Ideas, Power of Beauty, and ​Value of Hospitality.

  • Quality of Ideas

    By collaborating with community members, chefs, artists, organisations and professionals from different fields, our aim is to imagine and create places and experiences that can be platforms for learning and exchange.

    We strongly believe that the quality of the ideas that we bring together through our programs can make our voice louder, send our messages further, and inspire others to act.

    Chefs
  • Power of Beauty

    Beauty is a universal language, whose power can inspire and unveil hidden potential. Moments of beauty – be it art, design, music or an act of kindness – can take people out of their daily experience and help them to connect with each other.

    By creating spaces and experiences that actively celebrate the equal right of all to beauty, our aim is to encourage people to embrace empathy, and to form human connections that can be powerful vehicles for change.

    Artists
  • Value of Hospitality

    We believe in the power of hospitality to create experiences that have an emotional impact and that can make people feel seen and cared for.

    Through the excellence of our services, the integrity of our motivation, and the attention we dedicate to each of our stakeholders, our aim is to ensure a sense of dignity, caring and belonging that motivates them to express themselves and their ideas.

    Volunteers

Our Programs

The Refettorio houses several unique programs designed to build a more healthy and equitable food system, to create opportunities for social progress, and thereby to build a more resilient community.

What we do

Our space

Our space is located in the historical center of Mérida, in a colonial home with cultural significance. The walls tell Mérida’s history as a colonial town with its roots in Mayan culture and tradition.

This once-home of a traditional Yucateca family now opens its door to the whole city to serve as a symbol of exchange and inclusion for years to come.

The long entrance corridor takes visitors to the central heart of the house, an open-air garden, a place for connecting and feeling the healing power of nature. High ceilings and wooden doors that let the wind pass, speak to the elegance and hospitality of the space.

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Our guests

Refettorios around the world are more than meal programs. Our guests are experiencing various situations of vulnerability, and are invited to feel secure, welcome, and supported in our spaces. In Mérida, we welcome individuals and families in situations of homelessness as well as food insecurity.

If you want to get in touch, please contact refettoriomerida@gmail.com – we would love to welcome you!

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