flavours of the world: MM Factory to Open
Mercato Metropolitano (MM) is coming to Elephant Park. The MM Factory will open later this year, on Walworth Square and Sayer Street, and will be the first of its kind. It will offer the local community a unique and sustainable dining experience, as well as being a supportive social hub centred on a love of food.
In addition to its signature mix of micro-restaurants and high-quality sustainable food concepts from around the globe, the MM Factory in Elephant Park will mill selected heritage and organic grains on site. It will then use these to create nutritious bakery, patisserie and pasta products.
By linking the city and the countryside, the mill will offer the community a truly unique experience, says Charlotte Whiting, sustainability manager for MM.
“The fact that we will be producing our own flour in central London is unique to our new project,” she adds. “The flour and production will service our other markets around London, as well as our Elephant Park community, improving the quality of our products and positively impacting our carbon footprint in terms of distribution.”
The MM Factory will also inspire and empower local communities with exciting activities to complement the ongoing calendar of community events.
It will extend Mercato Metropolitano’s current cookery school programme to include a greater focus on sustainable food production and lifestyles. There will also be free cookery classes for local children, with an emphasis on healthy eating, free community lunches for older residents who may be isolated or lonely, and cooking training for refugees.
Community is at the core of Mercato Metropolitano and– with the introduction of the factory – Vicki Exall, community manager at MM, plans to expand the level of engagement within Elephant Park and wider Elephant & Castle community.
“MM has forged strong links with the local community and key stakeholders via the delivery of a strong community programme in Elephant and Castle,” Exall says. “We will extend our programme to include engagement with a wider geographic area– including schools, higher education institutions, community groups, social enterprises, charities and businesses – to promote the MM Factory as a fully inclusive space, accessible by a broad cross-section of the community.”
The history of Mercato Metropolitano
Founded in Milan, Italy, in 2015, the Mercato Metropolitano proved successful as the city’s sustainable community market. A UK site, focusing on artisan producers, urban farms, community activities and cultural programmes throughout the year, launched in Elephant & Castle in 2016. This created more than 200 permanent new jobs, and generated longer-term sustainable changes in employment, skills and opportunity in the area.
From summer 2019, visitors can expect the new MM Factory to be a hive of activity, with the production of bread, pasta and patisserie goods, coffee roasting and a gelato laboratory at the centre. Food and drink trading partners will also offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and a beautifully curated retail space, selling fresh, everyday ingredients to cook at home, bulk-buy concepts and speciality foods.
“We will continue to work with partners who share our values and are focused on circular economy concepts that positively impact the local environment,” says Whiting.
Andrea Rasca, founder and ‘chief executive dreamer’ of Mercato Metropolitano, adds: “Elephant Park is an amazing opportunity for us. When looking at potential destinations, it quickly became apparent that Lendlease is a landlord that shares our ideals and vision for the future. The Mercato Metropolitano ecosystem is all about community – a place for ongoing dialogue between local people, farmers, chefs, retailers and artists. We cannot think of a better place to build upon this community, with a new approach to urban retail, than Elephant Park.”