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Pay it Forward with a Zero-Waste Dinner at a Social Impact Café

Every dinner purchased at Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney pays for four people in need to dine free of charge the next day.

Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney meal

Dining with a difference takes on a whole new meaning at Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney. This warm and inclusive not-for-profit café leads the way when it comes to sustainable dining in Sydney, serving up cutting-edge vegetarian cuisine made from over 90 per cent rescued ingredients. More than just a café, the Refettorio is a testament to the power of food and its ability to unite the community in an act of love.

Chances are you’ve strolled past the Refettorio, which is housed in a beautiful 100-year-old terrace building on the southern end of Crown Street. This social impact café is an Australian-first collaboration between the nation’s leading food waste organisation, OzHarvest, and renowned Italian chef, Massimo Bottura. It proudly joins the ranks as the 13th Refettorio worldwide, operating under Bottura’s charity initiative, Food for Soul. 

Everyone is invited to pull up a chair at the Refettorio.  During its daytime service, the café warmly welcomes those facing food insecurity or social isolation, offering them a nourishing three-course meal, on the house. The Refettorio teams up with local charities to introduce their café to Sydney’s vulnerable communities and enlists a yellow army of volunteers to serve these guests.

“Everyone feels welcome and respected no matter their circumstance, and each day we see the positive impact that a dignified dining experience can have,” says Nicole Khoury, Restaurant Manager at Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney. 

On Thursday nights, members of the public are invited to come and enjoy the same three-course dining experience for $80 per person. By booking a seat at the Refettorio’s Pay It Forward Dinners (formerly known as Neighbourhood Dinners), you become an integral part of OzHarvest’s mission, enabling the café to serve a nourishing three-course lunch to at least four people in need during their weekday lunch service or Saturday brunch.

Creativity is key when it comes to the super sustainable menus, which utilise rescued food sourced from big-name supermarkets, producers, and retailers including Woolworths and Marley Spoon. The Refettorio also relies on generous donations from local businesses and suppliers like Sydney City Farm and Two Providores. 

“Based on OzHarvest’s zero-waste philosophy, we use up to 95 per cent rescued ingredients to create beautiful and delicious gourmet vegetarian meals,” explains Cleo Griffin, Events and Marketing Coordinator at Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney.

The menu changes weekly but past highlights include carrot tartare with grapefruit yogurt and wonton crisps; potato gnocchi with miso butter, kimchi and crispy shallots; and ricotta orange fritters with roasted grapes and lemon mascarpone for dessert.”

Dinnertime guests are also surprised with a seasonal house-made mocktail, along with staple non-alcoholic drinks including the Refettorio’s signature shrub (fermented fruit drink), Heaps Normal alcohol-free beers, and hot drinks to go with dessert.

Basically, Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney is a place you can feel good about eating at. You’ll walk away with a full stomach and the fulfillment of knowing that you’ve contributed to positive change within the community. You can make a Pay it Forward Dinner booking at


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