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Food as a Weapon against Poverty

14-12-11

Danish gastronomy entrepreneur, Claus Meyer, has created the Melting Pot Foundation to help poor and marginalized people in, for instance, Bolivia. He believes that the more you give, the more you receive.

Claus Meyer at a market in Bolivia. Photo: Christina Smedegaard Jensen

By Jan Kjær

Why Project Melting Pot?

“I wanted to use the power of food and my sense of entrepreneurship to help underprivileged and marginalized people. In order to do that in the most transparent and efficient way, I had to formally distinguish between business and charity.”

Why a food school in Bolivia?

“I believe that my experience from transforming the food culture in the Nordic Region can serve the progress of any region in the world, and that such a culinary transformation can be a weapon against both poverty and unhealthiness.”

What do you want the Bolivians to learn in Denmark and what should they bring back to their home country?

“They have come to Denmark for a three months internship in order to learn the working moral of my colleagues and to be inspired by the search for excellence in every corner of my company. They are also going to learn from the innovative processes in restaurants like Radio, Noma, Fiskebaren and Relæ.”

What do you expect will be the outcome in Bolivia?

“I expect a great place to work for 60-80 Bolivians. The education shall provide 40-50 young Indians with an education that will enable them to get a job in the culinary sector and inspire them to start their own food companies.”

“The food school shall be a driving force in a culinary movement that will release the full potential of Bolivia’s gastronomic sector. The whole project shall be economically self sustainable in four years.”

And in Denmark?

“In Denmark I hope to create a sense of global belongingness. And also that we can go to bed knowing we did what we could.”

How do you see your role in the project?

“I am founding father, (together with IBIS) and a sort of ‘content manager’.”

“I am involved in defining the culinary profile, finding the right people to help us realize the project, and create the best possible relationship between the food school and the world around it.”

Why do you, as a busy Danish business’ man, engage in projects in a poor country such as Bolivia?

“Because I have got a lot of possibilities in my life and I want to give something back.”

“Because I want to show that the new Nordic cuisine is not just about the Nordic region, that it is a global movement fighting for the empowerment of the poor, a movement that insists on bridging hedonism with healthiness and sustainability in any region of the world.”

“Because I believe that the more you give the more you will get back.”

Facts about Claus Meyer

Claus Meyer is a gastronomy entrepreneur born in 1963. He has made Danish and Scandinavian cuisine world famous. He regularly appears in food programmes on television and he has written several cooking books. Claus Meyer owns or co-owns bakeries, micro breweries, fruit companies, catering services and several restaurants such as Noma.

Claus Meyer and IBIS secretary general Vagn Berthelsen with the young people who will benefit from the project in Bolivia.
Photo: Christina Smedegaard Jensen
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