Short description of the business or initiative
No-Mad-Kitchen is not a business but a local initiative I started and established in form of an association (NGO) together with my partner in May 2017 at Pau. Our NGO has today 23 members, 10 of them are active members.
Our objectives are
- To act against the waste of food. Plenty of food is thrown away every day by restaurants, merchants, supermarkets because it is not sold within the same day.
- To exchange and share knowledge about cooking
We recuperate this food from a merchant at the local market hall at Pau and transform it together during our workshops into dishes we either share between us or we sell for a free price (everybody is free to pay what he estimates fair and appropriate) at local festivals or concerts. We hold a cooking workshop every Thursday afternoon in a Youth hostel at Pau and organize once a month a shared dinner with debates and music performance in a local open space.
How old were you when you started as entrepreneur?
26 years. I had worked for many years as a cook in restaurants and when I quit my last job, I was entitled to almost two years of unemployment benefits.
What support did you have when you became an entrepreneur?
We didn’t ask for any financial or advisory support yet. The drag to apply for funding is the fact that we would be obliged to respect all official norms of hygiene. Although we do respect them of course, we would quite sure have to make some investments in order to respect the official norms which are very strict.
We don’t have many costs, because we can use the kitchen at the youth hostel for free. The benefits from the sold dishes are random, but we noticed that people are willing to pay a fair price for the quality of the dishes.
The initiative is an action against food waste. We try to raise awareness about the fact that tons of unsold food are wasted every day while many people can’t afford to eat healthy food.
However, our target group are not poor people in the first place. We wish to reach people who wish to change their habits of consumption. And we want to do this by actions and not by discussions. We don’t want to start making awareness campaigns in schools for example, we think that it requires active participation to become aware.
Food is a need but also a pleasure – 😉
KEY CHALLENGES AND SUCCESS FACTORS
What drives your motivation?
I have been a cook for many years. I worked mostly alone in a kitchen and during many weekends. With No-Mad-Kitchen I regain the pleasure of cooking, the creation of dishes and together with motivated people.
Does your job make you compromise with something or make sacrifices?
Not more than any other job. I feel sometimes impatient, because I would like to find a second kitchen in order to develop the activities of the association. One disadvantage is that we hardly work with organic food until now, because it’s usually used for composting. It would be great if we could recuperate the unsold organic food by the big supermarkets.
What does it take to be successful?
To do on one’s scale what is possible, to be active and participate in change!
What are the benefits, both personal and social?
The rich experience, the human contact, sharing and exchanging with others, meeting very different people, being creative, develop new ideas …
SKILLS AND COMPETENCES
The most relevant skills and competence to perform your initiative/business successfully
I am a professional cook (A level + 2 years of education) which is not necessary for this initiative, but it can be helpful when applying for funding or other future plans.
You should know about the hygiene norms and respect them. You should also have the capacity to organize yourself quickly when to recuperate unsold food!
Organizational skills, spontaneity, flexibility, creativity, team work
As a cook in several restaurants.