Founded by Worldchefs, Like a Chef stands as an exemplary programme that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices in the culinary industry. With a strong focus on waste reduction and on collaboration with local communities, Like a Chef sets a remarkable example of how DEI principles can drive sustainable growth and a positive social impact. This programme won the ESAE Association Award 2023 for the DEI category.
Like a Chef is an employment training programme to empower underprivileged individuals with professional culinary skills. It is part of Feed the Planet, an initiative founded by Worldchefs and powered by the Electrolux Food Foundation, AIESEC. Through Like a Chef, participants receive practical training from volunteer professional chefs, equipping them with the necessary skills to secure employment, become self-employed, or pursue further culinary studies. From immigrant women and single parents to teenage orphans, this programme plays a vital role in empowering people in need to put food on the table and improve their livelihoods.
Like a Chef programme aligns with Goals 12 and 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030. This initiative is closely linked to the strategic objectives of Worldchefs, an organisation committed to maintaining and improving culinary standards worldwide.
The comprehensive curriculum spans nine weeks, including one week of theory and eight weeks of practical training. It covers essential topics such as hygiene and food security, culinary techniques and skills, and eco-gastronomy with an emphasis on reducing food waste.
Additional areas of focus include digital marketing and entrepreneurship. The curriculum, developed by Worldchefs, is adaptable to meet the specific needs of each country. Teaching mmaterials, including PowerPoint presentations, chef's notes, recipes, and ingredient lists, are available in multiple languages to facilitate accessibility.
To facilitate the programme, local partners are responsible for providing suitable facilities centres to host culinary training for the students. The size of the facility varies based on the partner's availability. The number of students participating in each wave of lessons is determined by the available infrastructure to ensure optimal participation and safety. Worldchefs and the Electrolux Food Foundation provide equipment lists, connects volunteer chefs with facility centres, and handle public relations to promote the programme and raise global awareness.
The contribution of the Like a Chef programme to the local community is significant. The programme
has achieved a substantial employment rate among graduates. In Brazil, the most active country, 60.5% of participants found employment or established their own businesses after completing the programme. The positive impact of Like a Chef extends beyond the students themselves. Trainers and local partners also acknowledge the programme's influence on their communities, fostering collaboration and economic growth of small businesses.
Since 2017, the Like a Chef programme has been implemented at 8 active training centres, including Curitiba, São Carlos, and São Paulo (Brazil), Moscow (Russia), Cairo (Egypt), Ukraine, Stockholm (Sweden), Warsaw (Poland), and Saint Lucia. Two new training centres in Paris (France) and Johannesburg (South Africa) are in planning. Since its first launch in 2018, Like a Chef has successfully trained and certified 1,013 individuals, thereby enhancing their employment prospects and contributing to their overall well-being.