News about René Redzepi seems to be coming out each week. Today comes the announcement that the non-profit foundation MAD (Danish for Food), created by Redzepi, will be partnering with Yale University to develop a new leadership institute for chefs.
This comes in the wake of announcements that Noma, the award-winning restaurant run by Redzepi will close its doors in December 2016 as well as the announcement of the launch of VILD MAD, a resource for learning, tasting and exploring wild food.
The programme, which will be piloted next spring at Yale, will help create and curate new discussions among leading chefs as their influence continues to develop past the walls of their restaurants.
In an age when chefs have become celebrities and have helped to raise awareness on issues such as food waste, this partnership is significant because it recognises the positive influence chefs can have on issues like kitchen culture and sustainability among others.
Redzepi, considered to be one of the most influential chefs in the world said “Our goal is to help chefs take action. Partnering with Yale is an opportunity to realize the potential we believe the chefs have to influence how we eat now and in the future. Combining this with the university’s fantastic legacy and educational resources we think can provide a new knowledge base, one that has often been overlooked, that will reinvent the leadership role of chefs in initiating new conversations on topics like kitchen culture, sustainability, inclusiveness, and respect.”
MAD and Yale believe that chefs wield unprecedented influence, and that they can offer new perspectives and solutions to serious global issues. The institute will thus expose participants to experiences, ideas, and principles that they can use to think creatively and critically about food-related issues.
“Yale is excited to partner with MAD to inspire a new era of leadership in food,” says Jonathan Holloway, dean of Yale College. “Participants will leave the program with a compassionate understanding of the socio-economic, environmental, and health challenges facing food systems around the world, and be inspired to bring lasting change. This is also a unique opportunity for Yale students, who will play a central role in conducting the institute and employ proven and personalized co-mentorship models to inform and inspire the chefs.”
The MAD Institute at Yale will begin with a pilot program in 2016: a group of 6 to 8 top chefs and food leaders that will test and build the curriculum in an intensive week long summit. In 2017, the program will be extended to two weeks and expand to host 15 to 18 participants every two years chosen through an application process.
“The educational program we’re creating will reflect the realities of our changing profession and a changing world, offering new ideas on how to overcome its obstacles as well as ways in which we can harness its potential,” says Redzepi.
The MAD Institute at Yale will draw upon the university’s rich and varied programming in food studies. The Yale Sustainable Food Program, established in 2001, runs two teaching farms on campus, and supports a range of curricular and extra-curricular study. The program connects students from across academic disciplines to opportunities for study and practice in food, health, and the environment.
The institute will also compliment MAD’s annual symposium, a two-day conference held in Copenhagen where chefs, producers, academics, and activists convene to share knowledge and ideas about improving their trade.