Jean-François Archambault

Ashoka Fellow
Canada, North America
Fellow Since 2009


This profile was prepared when Jean-François Archambault was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Jean-François is fighting hunger and nutritional deficiencies by creating avenues for chefs to address social and environmental issues in their work. Chefs have the ability to increase the culinary opportunities of at-risk populations and decrease the number of people going hungry by linking the food industry to food banks, citizen organizations (COs) and their constituencies. Jean-François created La Tablée des Chefs (Band of Chefs) in 2004 to engage chefs in this process and to encourage their sense of social responsibility. Band of Chefs is transforming the food production and redistribution cycles to increase food security among low-income populations. Band of Chefs provides access to high-quality food and educates marginalized youth about cooking and nutrition, so they may cook healthy food for themselves.

Jean-François is leveraging chefs’ abilities to engage caterers, restaurants, and hotel owners, turning them into allies to address food waste problems within the food service industry, while also responding to the nutritional needs of underserved populations. Through his organization, Jean-François is transforming the way chefs lead the food management process (preparation, storage, and processing) to help reduce food waste and to redistribute high-quality leftovers to food banks and shelters. By addressing both the issues of social responsibility and environmental sustainability, Jean-François is making the food industry in Canada more sustainable.

Jean-François also engages chefs as educators, who transfer their cooking and nutritional knowledge to food banks, CO leaders, and marginalized youth and families through workshops and summer camps. The chefs teach them to enjoy the art of cooking and to cook healthy and sophisticated meals on a limited budget. Chefs are also helping institutions such as youth centers and school boards to integrate culinary knowledge in their curricula. Meanwhile, young people are becoming the champions of better eating habits among their families.

Jean-François works in the Province of Quebec and plans to expand Band of Chefs to other major Canadian cities through partnerships with culinary schools and national food service organizations. He is also discussing with government agencies how to integrate his vision for food security in school curricula and more broadly in Canadian society.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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