Cooking, a lever for integration and a vehicle for intercultural exchange

After establishing a catering service, opening a café-restaurant and publishing a recipe book, Les Cuistots Migrateurs wanted to add a new dimension to their development by opening a cooking school. Discovering (and tasting!) new cultures while at the same time building a professional future...

Social & Employment

  • Location:
    Paris (France)
  • Sponsor:
    Salma Gourram
  • Grants:
    €8,000 at the selection committee meeting on 16 March 2020
    €15,000 at the selection committee meeting on 6 April 2022
    €2,000 to the Selection Committee on March 29, 2023 (endowment resulting from an event organized by the Veolia Group Purchasing Department at the end of 2022)

Project Leader

L'Ecole des Cuistots Migrateurs

Since its foundation in 2016, Les Cuistots Migrateurs has succeeded in combining integration with real economic activity. An innovative social enterprise, the company employs refugee cooks in order to offer its customers food from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Nepal, Ethiopia, Bengal and Senegal. The catering activity has sold more than 300,000 meals and in 2019, will be supplemented by a restaurant-café opened in the 11th arrondissement and a cookbook published by La Martinière.

From business to community school

Thanks to this sustainable economic model, Les Cuistots Migrateurs has been able to hire ten refugees on a full-time, permanent basis. That is to say, as many candidates for housing and improved living conditions who have seen their efforts rewarded.

In order to continue to develop the talents and their income, the company is committed to creating a training centre to complete its model and further its social impact. Opened with the support of the Veolia Foundation at the end of 2020, the school offers, on the same site, a unique methodology and support: French classes, cooking classes and personalised support (definition of a career path, individual psychotherapeutic support).

In 18 months, 4 classes have brought together 40 refugees with a 90% integration rate. For this first phase, the Paris Culinary Institute hosted the teams and the courses. The second phase consists, again with the support of the Veolia Foundation, of opening a more ambitious training centre.

A change of scale

Based in Montreuil, this former 700 m² industrial space is to be rehabilitated before housing all the association's activities in a single location. The aim is to be able to train more people, up to 170 by 2025. To achieve this, the association is diversifying the training formats and paths, opening up to apprenticeships and developing new modules, linked to the service professions for example.

The other ambition is to make this place an open space, a place of exchange and sharing, anchored in its territory and turned towards its actors. In concrete terms, the Cuistots migrateurs want to offer cultural and culinary encounters to companies, students, schoolchildren and residents. The association intends to make cooking a key to living together in a multicultural society in transformation.