Like a Chef, the culinary skills education program set up by Electrolux Group's nonprofit organization the Electrolux Food Foundation, has trained 1000 people since its launch – offering people hope and a new beginning.
In 2017, the Electrolux Food Foundation partnered together with Worldchefs and AIESEC to deliver the first Like a Chef program in Curitiba, Brazil. The goal? To use the power of food to provide people in need with skills that can help improve individual lives and enrich communities. To date, the program has provided professional culinary training to over 1,000 people and is on target to meet its objective of reaching 3,000 people by 2030.
“We are so proud of the work we’re doing,” says Cosimo Scarano, Head of the Electrolux Food Foundation. “We have already changed the lives of 1,000 people. We have helped people who have lost hope find new jobs, and we’ve shown how the power of collaboration can help build and inspire a more sustainable industry. We’re looking forward to continuing this great work.”
Like a Chef is an employment training program that equips underprivileged people with free culinary workplace skills. The Electrolux Food Foundation's objective is to train a new generation of kitchen professionals and educate more people with recipes and content focused on sustainable cooking practices, while improving communities. Like a Chef currently has programs in Brazil, Sweden, Poland and Egypt and this year began a new wave of training in St. Lucia. More locations will become active throughout the year.
At the heart of the Like a Chef program are the people who come together to make a difference for others. Global and local coordinators partner together with organizations in communities to identify where help is needed most. The content and training, which can vary from five to ten weeks, is then developed and adapted to meet those needs.
Then the hard work happens. Participants show up to learn under the guidance of professional chefs. Training includes basic kitchen guidelines, including safety education, along with hands-on cooking classes. Sustainable food choices and zero-waste cooking are highlights of the program. Participants leave certified to work as kitchen professionals.
One of the most meaningful aspects of the Like a Chef Program is to see how the program changes lives. In June 2022, the Foundation partnered with the Food Bank in Poland to provide Like a Chef culinary training for female refugees from Ukraine. Months earlier, these women had relied on friends and strangers to help them escape the war. They found themselves in Poland facing a new life and an uncertain future. Like a Chef stepped in to give them hope.
Iryna, a mother of six, is one of those women. Despite facing childcare challenges and language barriers, Iryna soaked up the Like a Chef education and graduated with her kitchen training certificate and renewed purpose. She says, "I am very grateful to the organizers for this opportunity for women from Ukraine to adapt to a new place, the culture of Poland, as well as to learn a new profession. I was also able to meet new friends."
In Egypt, the Like a Chef program partnered with a local hospital to offer the training to survivors of breast cancer. The stories coming from this initiative reveal how meaningful this program remains for the participants, many of whom now work in restaurants, professional kitchens or even run their own food-related businesses.
Like a Chef is an employment training program set up in 2017 by Electrolux Food Foundation together with Worldchefs and AIESEC within the Feed the Planet partnership.