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La Tablée des Chefs: changing lives, eliminating hunger + educating the next generation

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Jean-François Archambault is a chef for the good of the people. In February, the 2019 RC Leadership Award was awarded to Archambault, the managing director and founder of La Tablée des Chefs. Soon after his studies in Hotel Management, Archambault became a manager in the hospitality industry for Fairmont and Marriott, where he worked for 10 years. But his main passion is around the mission of his social business, La Tablée des Chefs, created in 2002. Through the initiative, Archambault socially mobilizes chefs and cooks. He believes chefs and cooks have an inherent responsibility to intervene on the issue of hunger and to address its many challenges.

Every year, La Tablée des Chefs feeds over 600,000 Canadians in need through food recovery and educates over 3,000 youths to develop their culinary education. The organization now involves over 400 chefs and cooks. 

Latest news: La Tablée des Chefs is extending its Kitchen Brigades program,

offered in high schools, to the rest of Canada.

Accomplishments: In 2015, Archambault received the Meritorious Service Cross from the Governor General of Canada. In 2018, he received the Quebec Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Exceptional Merit and the Tribute Award from the Foundation of the Association Restauration Québec (ARQ).

The mission of la Tablée des Chefs is to feed people in need and develop culinary education for young people. Since 2002, more than 30,000 young people have received culinary training in high schools and youth centres; more than 3,000,000 portions have been distributed to people in need.

THE GOALS OF TABLÉE DES CHEFS

Feed.

Food Recovery Program

Even today in Canada, food insecurity remains a major social problem. Despite this reality, healthy and nutritious food surpluses intended for human consumption still too often end up in the garbage, even though they are still edible. In order to fight this phenomenon, La Tablée des Chefs set up an innovative food recovery program in 2003 with the mission of feeding people in need, while ensuring compliance with hygiene, safety and food security rules.

Through this program, La Tablée des Chefs acts as a liaison between donors of food surpluses and the various organizations that will ensure the recovery of the donation and its distribution to beneficiaries in need. “We are thus mobilizing chefs, cooks and pastry chefs in the hotel, restaurant and institutional sectors to manage their food surpluses while respecting the culinary vocation, and promoting social inclusion and respect for human dignity.

“In 2018, in Canada, more than 670,000 servings of food were redistributed to food insecure individuals and families through our food recovery program.”

Educate.

Kitchen Brigades

The goal of the Kitchen Brigades program is to place young people from Quebec high schools (12-17 years old) at the centre of the action, making them aware of the joy of cooking and creating a certain excitement in the school environment around food and healthy lifestyles. Through 24 theoretical and practical culinary workshops, including various food preparation and challenge activities (20 workshops, 3 challenges, a battle of the Brigades, quarter-finals, semi-finals and a provincial culinary competition grand final), the students develop their food knowledge and learn the various basic cooking techniques to help them increase their food autonomy.

For the 2018-2019 school year, the Kitchen Brigades program is offered in 125 high schools to nearly 3,000 young people, mainly as extracurricular activities, in all 17 administrative regions of Quebec.

“Our ultimate goal is to offer the culinary training program in 200 Quebec secondary schools by the end of 2021.

“Kitchen Brigades in other provinces: this year, we also worked on the adaptation and translation into English of the Kitchen Brigades program, in order to offer this program in the rest of Canada. We recruited 21 high schools from seven other Canadian provinces: British Columbia (3), Alberta (2), Manitoba (3), Ontario (3), Nova Scotia (7), New Brunswick (2) and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). As of January 2019, the Kitchen Brigades program was offered in after-school programs in 17 English-language schools, and in 4 French-language schools that offered the original program in French!”

Culinary à La Carte Workshops

This program is offered in high schools and in various community settings throughout Quebec. For young people who want to learn and develop their cooking skills, but do not want to be part of the competitive spirit of the Kitchen Brigades program, this alternative is ideal!

Cuisiner pour Manger Mieux (Cooking for healthier eating)

Since 2013, the Cuisiner pour Manger Mieux program has been part of the school curriculum for students aged 13 to 16 years in the Preparation for the Job Market Program (FPT) in 10 high schools in the Marguerite-Bourgeoys, Montreal, Pointe-de-l’Île and English-Montreal school boards.

Cuisine Ton Avenir (Cook Up Your Future)

The culinary training program offered to young people in Youth Centres, Cuisine ton avenir (Cook Up your Future), developed by La Tablée des Chefs.

Impact.

Socially Conscious Cooking Schools–Longueuil and Montreal

In 2018, La Tablée des Chefs opened its socially conscious cooking schools to more than 120 companies and foodie groups. “These companies and people have gotten together to participate in culinary workshops, to organize community kitchens or to use our spaces for their events or culinary projects. Their commitment has enabled us to pursue our mission of feeding people in need and developing culinary education for young people.”

Recent Endeavours:

  • 75 companies/foodie groups, i.e., 1,600 people, who took part in a tailor-made culinary workshop for a team-building experience or to share time with friends who are passionate about good food
  • 13 companies, more than 300 people, who have made a concrete gesture of sharing by organizing community kitchens that provided more than 9,700 portions of food for people in need
  • 33 companies that have opted for an event, a project that is socially committed by renting our spaces.

Grande Tablée Montréal. The event will take place November 4, 2019, at the Espace Paddocks at Parc Jean-Drapeau

Grande Tablée Québec. The event will take place November 18, 2019, at the Fairmont Château Frontenac

Grande Tablée Toronto. A first in Toronto this fall! October 7, 2019 at Arcadian Court

Interested in learning more and/or attending a Grande Tablée? Please visit www.tableedeschefs.org.

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