WCK maintains a strong, ongoing presence in Haiti through Ecole des Chefs (EDC), our Culinary School in Port-au-Prince. Every six months, EDC takes in a new cohort of students for the technique-based curriculum that is focused on food safety, sanitation, knife skills, advanced culinary arts, life skills, and professionalism in the workplace. EDC serves not only as a professional culinary training center, but was also designed to be our anchor emergency kitchen in Haiti’s capital in the case of any large scale emergencies.
So, in the wake of the civil unrest and protests the past few weeks in Haiti, our Chef Relief Team activated the current class of culinary students to help provide meals to people in need. The team worked side-by-side with students preparing more than a thousand meals a day. In a total of 7 days, students prepared and served 13,285 meals.
Chef Berge Lucson Paul, a 2015 graduate from EDC came back to help serve his community during the activation. “I came to help because my passion for cooking pushed me to”, he said. Chef Berge now works at Burger Center and is a consultant with World Central Kitchen.
Chef Berge Lucson Paul
For Natacha Gomez, EDC’s Chef Instructor, the training experience was a showing of “love in its true form”. She said the training the students received can continue to show them the part they can play in a future emergency. “Everyone has something to give and everyone can help.”
Frantz Fenelon, Kervens Pierre, Natacha Gomez (culinary instructor), Severine Hippolyte, Wendy Dupalis
During this response, the Chef Relief Team was able to teach the students how to operate a relief effort on their own. Students learned how to properly source enough product and scale up their operations to feed large numbers of people when necessary. They learned how to prepare, pack, and deliver meals to the community. These lessons are extremely valuable and will help to empower the students, our local staff, and the EDC itself to be strong leaders in their community in the case of future disasters.
Going forward, we will be incorporating an Emergency Feeding Response component in the regular curriculum so that all future classes of EDC students and graduates can be activated to feed and comfort the Haitian people when needed.