“I want to share with you the idea that great taste is not just a source of joy, but also a matter of love and maybe an instrument to improve life,” world renowned chef, Claus Meyer, said in a 2012 TED Talk. Meyer, a co-founder of restaurant Noma, named Best Restaurant in the World by Restaurant Magazine in 2010, 2011, and 2012, began The Melting Pot Foundation in 2011. The foundation’s goal is “improving the quality of life and the future prospects of vulnerable and marginalized populations in Denmark and in selected developing countries.”
One of the programs initiated by The Melting Pot Foundation is a prison culinary program. The pilot program included 16 inmates that were taught Michelin level cooking skills. “In Denmark, 26 percent of all ex-convicts reoffend,” the website states, but “of the inmates who participated in the project’s first round and have since been released, several have jobs as a direct result of their involvement.” The hope is to use culinary education as a launching pad to teach skills and create opportunity for inmates and reduce recidivism rates.
The program has since been expanded to include three additional sites. Possible long term projects include the creation of a profitable bakery, additional food production ventures, and a restaurant or catering business ran by inmates.