Job-Creating Food Workshops

By: Social Business Editor - May 22, 2014
Thomas de Pommereau works on communications and partnerships for Kialatok, a French social business that aims to combat high unemployment rates among immigrants through delicious cooking workshops that are more like communities than lessons.

Here, chats with Thomas de Pommereau -- who is still in school in Montreal, Canada -- and he shares how he began working with the innovative brand as well as some of his ongoing inspirations.

Four Questions with Thomas de Pommereau

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?

First, this idea came to the founders (Kevin Berkane and Florence Pellegrini) as they realized that not only the unemployment rate is high in France (like in many European countries...), but this rate is also two times higher among immigrant populations; this is a shame, especially because many of them have expertise and valuable skills. Then, they were also saddened by the narrow-mindedness of some people, and their lack of knowledge about the richness of other cultures. So, they tried to think about a way to combine the employment of poor individuals from different countries, and an authentic cultural experience. As Florence is an excellent cook, they realized that cooking lessons are extremely popular, and could be a powerful vector for employment and cultural discoveries. Kialatok was born!

2. How did you decide to join this sector?

I do not have much professional experience yet as I am still a student (McGill University, Montréal, Canada), but I have been attracted by social business for a long time as I believe that our economical model is not sustainable, and social business is a first step toward a general change in our way of perceiving business. I heard about Kialatok thanks to a relative, and I was immediatly enthusiastic about this project: that is how I decided to work with them for a few months (before going back to Canada in September).

3. How do you get your inspiration?

I think that about inspiration, all our team members share a similar point of view: we all come from different backgrounds, we all love traveling and discovering cultures. Thus, our differences and our personal experiences of diversity are the fundamental inspiration basis for our projects.

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?

One way for us to be creative is simply to share with each other. We talk about anything (music, photography, travels, and also food of course!) and by being passionate about what we do, we naturally come up with new ideas (everything is about passion!). Personally, to take a few steps back and "reset myself," I read literature.