#3: Nicola Gryczka on Carving a Career from Passion

Nicola Gryczka is CEO of Gastromotiva, a leading social business based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil which uses food as a social change agent by providing vocational kitchen training, entrepreneurial classes and nutrition education to create opportunities for those living on the margins of society, while also working to reduce food waste.

Since 2016 she has started to work with innovative solutions to stop the vicious circle of Food Waste, involving the powerful convening power of chefs. Most of her career was in the development world, continuously focusing on solutions through a multi-stakeholder approach. She started her career at the World Economic Forum, where she worked with strategic partnerships and later within the Latin American Centre for Regional Strategies, and has since worked for TIME Magazine and as a consultant in a variety of areas. Gryczka has become a motivational speaker and consultant at renowned organizations such as CIPE, FAO, the WFP among others. She has also recently been selected as the entrepreneur of the year for Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne and one of the MIT SOLVE finalist for innovative solutions and start-ups that will change the world.

In conversation with Nicola, we talked about her passions for food and impact and how she has gradually aligned her career to pursuing these passions together.

Nicola has kindly provided a guest blog below:


Food and cooking have always been my passion, but became my tool to act and change the world, one meal at a time, when I joined my friend – and now partner Chef David Hertz, founder of Gastromotiva. 

The fact is food and preparing meals plays a central role in all our lives, no matter which race, society group or gender we were born in. Most of us that read this, eat and think about food every day, we share our experiences around the table, we connect and discuss, we nourish ourselves and our souls. 

But many of us don’t realize the power food and this simple act of cooking and eating can have.  Cooking is an act of love, cooking is a call for action. 

Using the transformative power of food and gastronomy to respond to modern challenges such as social exclusion, malnutrition, sustainable food and health systems, and many more, is what we call: Social Gastronomy!

David founded Gastromotiva 12 years ago, when only a few chefs in the world had social initiatives. Now we talk about and are fostering a ‘Social Gastronomy Movement’, but back then it seemed crazy. Social Gastronomy is a powerful and creative solution to some of the most pressing problems in the world.

Gastromotiva has trained, empowered and employed more than 4.000 students, educated around 100.000 caretakers and kids, reaching countless community members through a multiplier effect in communities. And we are so proud of our work, leading by example and inspiring others to act as well. However, we realize that alone we will never be able to solve the issues that we are addressing… 

Since 2012 we have been visiting and being inspired by Social Gastronomy projects around the world. We quickly saw the necessity and opportunity to connect projects and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practices around the globe. 

2018 was a very important milestone for us as an organization, but also for the world. The Social Gastronomy Movement (SGM) was kicked off officially. 

This Movement is a human centered Movement that uses the power of food and gastronomy to address social inequality, fight hunger, improve nutrition education, create a sustainable food system and local jobs. It is a global initiative aiming at spreading and replicating the best Social Gastronomy practices by connecting different stakeholders. Gastronomy is one of the most effective and inclusive tools we have in the fight against hunger and poverty. While projects are emerging lead by different chefs and activists from around the world, the full potential has not been achieved yet. Therefore, creating connections will broaden and strengthen the network and impact.

After a first SGM gathering in April, that brought an amazing group of stakeholders from all walks of life together, I am more than ever confident that the SGM will grow quickly, and am even more motivated to cultivate our work and the Movement going forward. 

So stay tuned and follow us:  Facebook account (click!)  instagram:@social_gastronomy and twitter: @sgmovement_ 


Find out more about Nicola at https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicola-gryczka-52b2189/

Tony Cooke

Tony Cooke is an internationally-recognised sustainability leader with over 25 years spent at the nexus of sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship, developing and executing strategies for business, governments and not-for-profit organisations across a wide variety of sectors. He now manages a portfolio of interests including; senior corporate counsel, executive coaching, non-executive roles and thought leadership through a combination of research, writing and podcasting. Visit my personal blog at http://tonycooke.wordpress.com

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