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CASE story

Sustainable culinary training that spurs life-long impact

Since 2017, the Like a Chef culinary training program has helped hundreds to find work in Brazil, Poland, Ukraine, Egypt, Russia and Sweden. 

The five- to ten-week training changes lives by providing sustainable culinary knowledge to help people into work. Developed by the Electrolux Food Foundation in partnership with Worldchefs and AIESEC, it has given almost 800 people an international qualification that they can use to find work in a professional kitchen.  

Many participants are from vulnerable backgrounds with limited formal education. But as of December 2021, almost 70% of Like a Chef participants in Brazil for example had found work after completing the training. 

Life-long impact 

"Like a Chef trains students on sustainable, healthy and zero-waste cooking," explains Cosimo Scarano, Sustainability Project Lead and globally responsible for Like a Chef at the Electrolux Food Foundation. "In addition, we see that the experience builds self-esteem for people to make a new start in life."

"This program helped me so much at a time in my life when I had hit rock bottom, it helped me overcome my depression and learn so many things about gastronomy," says Paulo César De Aguiar, Like a Chef graduate in Curitiba, Brazil, in 2021. "I am so grateful to the trainers and my colleagues on the program. I definitely feel one step closer to realizing my dream of one day opening a café together with my family."

The long-term goal is to provide training for 3,000 people by 2030. The coronavirus pandemic has delayed some activities around the world, but the team is feeling hopeful. "We hope to get back on track in 2022," says Scarano. 

A "glocal" and sustainable concept 

The training puts emphasis on sustainable cooking and eating and it's adapted to each location in terms of content and duration. "We meet local needs in terms of suitable recipes and cooking techniques to make sure they are culturally relevant," explains Scarano. 

During the pandemic, the program in Brazil adopted a blended learning model that consisted of three condensed weeks working remotely and one week of in-person training. 

Watch: Like a Chef Program in Yalla Rinkeby in Sweden 

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Electrolux employees are welcome to lend a hand 

There are opportunities for employees to help out. "Examples of how this is already happening are employees giving workshops in Brazil and Egypt on how to create a CV and practice job interviews," says Scarano. "Participants also receive support to start their own catering business and we work with a business incubator in Brazil."

"I've been involved in the program since 2020 and facilitate a 2-hour session for students on how to find a new job or hire someone for their own business every two months or so," explains Isabela Rossato, Talent Acquisition Partner for Latin America. "I really enjoy sharing my recruitment experience to help people develop personally and in their career."

"We are always open to Electrolux employees who want to support their local Like a Chef training or even help establish a new program in their country," says Scarano. "I'd like to bring more of our employees closer to our Like a Chef students."

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