Brazilian-born chef and social entrepreneur David Hertz, whose innovative model for improving the lives of low-income people simultaneously addresses hunger, malnutrition, food waste, and lack of opportunity, has been named the 2019 recipient of the Charles Bronfman Prize.
Established in 2004 by Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and Stephen Bronfman — along with their spouses, Andrew Hauptman and Claudine Blondin Bronfman — in honor of their father, Charles Bronfman, the prize, which includes a $100,000 cash award, recognizes an individual under the age of 50 whose humanitarian work, informed by Jewish values, has made a significant contribution to addressing a critical need.
Hertz is co-founder of Gastromotiva, a socio-gastronomic organization that helped launch the Social Gastronomy Movement, a global initiative to advance social inclusion and eliminate food waste and hunger. Since 2006, the Rio de Janeiro-based organization has provided free vocational culinary training as well as classes on nutrition and entrepreneurship in Brazil, El Salvador, South Africa, and Mexico. During the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Hertz — in collaboration with chef Massimo Botura and journalist Alexandra Forbes — opened Refettorio Gastromotiva, a no-food-waste cooking school and restaurant that teaches low-income students how to use surplus food to prepare healthy three-course "solidarity dinners" for vulnerable and/or homeless populations.
"It's a tremendous honor to be the recipient of the Charles Bronfman Prize for 2019," said Hertz. "I feel responsible to represent social entrepreneurs who are promoting Jewish values beyond our community, increasing the knowledge about how food and social gastronomy can address the most pressing issues of our planet and transcend geography, class, background, and religion....While a third of food is wasted, we have almost one billion people living with chronic hunger and two hundred million unemployed workers around the globe."
"We are privileged to honor David to help amplify his important work," said Ellen Bronfman Hauptman on behalf of the four founders. "He takes his place among the exceptional [Charles Bronfman] Prize laureates, each of whom has tackled a key problem of our day with transformative solutions."