Cooking, a gateway to employment

Gwennaelle Wit

Since its opening in March 2018, the Refettorio has welcomed 80 guests from disadvantaged backgrounds every evening for a gourmet meal cooked from unsold food products.

The 2019 results are proof of a winning bet: 11,444 meals served, 1,700 volunteers involved, 160 chefs mobilized and between 5 and 7 tons of food saved. The Refettorio thus shows that cooking is indeed a vehicle for social cohesion and a means of combating food wastage.

The Refettorio is now launching a new project by extending its missions to professional integration with its programme: “Gateway to Employment”.

The aim of this project is to offer an introduction to the culinary professions for people in a precarious situation.  The training consists of two phases. The first phase is in the dining room and kitchen at the Refettorio followed by a second one in an internship in a partner restaurant.  After a successful pilot phase at the end of 2019 – two refugees trained, including one who, following his internship, was granted a permanent contract – the Refettorio is putting its programme into practice. With personalised coaching, the apprentices develop their skills and know-how to better adapt to their new professional environment.  The support extends over a period of 4 to 5 months allowing the apprentice to prepare his training and to obtain socio-professional support once his training is completed.

The new apprentices of the “Gateway to Employment” programme are currently being recruited.

We wish them good luck and a great career!


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