Founded in 2006 to provide professional training in the culinary arts, 90% of Gastromotiva’s alumni find formal employment in the field.

At 18 years old, David Hertz wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life, so he decided that the best thing to do was travel. He went to Israel to live on a Kibbutz for a year and, from there, traveled to India, Thailand and various other regions, where he experienced an informal culinary education that would change the trajectory of his life. Returning to Brazil after seven years of travel, he had come to two conclusions: he wanted to work with food, and he wanted to help impoverished young people enter the field.

Founded in 2006 by David Hertz to promote the culinary arts as a vehicle for social inclusion and development, Gastromotiva is today one of the most respected organizations of its kind. In addition to the 93% employment rate of program graduates, Gastromotiva received the 2008 Social Responsibility Award for Hunger from Prazeres da Mesa magazine, and was used as a model for a similar project instituted in Indonesia during the V Youth Employment Summit – Rework the World in Switzerland in 2010.

With the support of BrazilFoundation, Gastromotiva is offering a new series of 280-hour workshops. One hundred hours of practical instruction include basic techniques, bread making, pastry, Brazilian cuisine and event planning. The series also includes workshops on rights and responsibilities, entrepreneurship, eco-gastronomy and nutrition, in addition to an 80-hour internship in a local restaurant in São Paulo.

“The big news this year is that we have a team of instructors composed mainly of ex-students,” said David, who plans on expanding the workshops to other cities in Brazil. The founder of Gastromotiva also teaches a few classes on foods from small-scale producers. “This week, we’re going to make a salad from four kinds of herbs that can be grown in any garden.”

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