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Jean-François Archambault is the Founder and Executive Director of La Tablée des Chefs, and one of Canada’s most innovative social entrepreneurs.
Passionate about the restaurant and hotel industry, he completed his hotel management training at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) in 1997 and began a business career. However, he dreamed of building a movement among chefs in Quebec to fight hunger. In 2000, he founded what would eventually become La Tablée des Chefs, an organization encouraging chefs, cooks and confectioners in Quebec to get involved with the community through food recovery programs and education of under privileged youth.
Because of his project’s growth, Mr. Archambault left his job in 2006 to fully devote himself to the management and development of La Tablée des Chefs. He set up a food recovery program that now includes some 40 restaurants, caterers and large facilities such as the Bell Centre, home to hockey team’s Les Canadiens de Montréal. Food recovery from the Bell Centre alone provides more than 60,000 meals a year to people in need. He founded the Taillevent culinary camp, which enables more than 475 underprivileged kids from all over the province to enjoy a culinary workshop vacation with the support of a guest chef.
He then launched the Ateliers du Frère Toc workshops, offered in select public high schools in Quebec to develop culinary independence among troubled youth. The program reaches over 500 teenagers aged 16 to 19 and under child protection, just before the government is no longer responsible for their wellbeing.
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La Tablée des Chefs has now expanded in Canada to hotels and restaurants in Toronto and Calgary, including the Stampede and BMO Centre.
In 2008, Jean-François received the Arista award from the Montreal Young Board of Trade in the Young Socially Responsible Business Leader of the year category. He was then a finalist in the Quebec Social Entrepreneur of the Year category of the Ernst & Young 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year awards. The same year, he was named Fellow of the prestigious ASHOKA movement, which unites leading social entrepreneurs from around the world.
In 2013 he received a philanthropic prize of $100,000 to develop a food recovery program in Mexico and the Americas through the ABC Foundation – Americas Business Council.
La Tablée des Chefs has now two cooking schools in Montreal and Longueuil for the general public and foodies in order to support the organization’s growth through workshops and culinary summer camps. The organization produced two cook books and is currently working on a third one with ten top chefs in Quebec.