David Hertz
Co-Founder + President

Jewish Values

“Feeding the hungry and creating community are core Jewish values involving both humility and compassion which create the foundation of Social Gastronomy. Food has the power to nourish our bodies and our souls, it is our identity, tradition and beliefs. Food is a strong tool to create bridges and breakdown barriers, inspire moments of connection and trust, building empowerment and opportunities for people who yet don’t fit into our society. People who cook together, stay together and the kitchen is the innovative lab that can change the world.”

David Hertz and His Global Impact

David Hertz, a Brazilian-born chef and social entrepreneur, uses food to build community, end waste and hunger while empowering the most vulnerable. One of every 9 people go to bed each night with an empty stomach, with almost 800 million people in the world suffering from chronic undernourishment according to World Food Programme statistics. At the same time, the United Nations reports that one third of all food produced in the world is wasted. 

Wasted food is not only a humanitarian issue but also impacts our environment as food that rots in landfills produces methane- a potent greenhouse gas contributing to 8-10% of global emissions according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

David Hertz’s Gastromotiva, co-founded in 2006, has created a model for transforming people’s lives through kitchen vocational training, nutritional education, business incubation and food made with compassion. Through Refettorio Gastromotiva, a state-of-the art no food waste cooking school and restaurant, co-founded with Food for Soul and Ale Forbes, nearly 140,000 dishes have been served with dignity to the most vulnerable people of downtown Rio, reclaiming over 95,000 kilos of food that would have been wasted. To date, over 5,500 cooks have been trained, some have started their own businesses employing and training others.

Primarily based in Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and El Salvador, Gastromotiva is the catalyst force behind the Social Gastronomy Movement of which David is the visionary and co-founder. Expanding food hubs internationally has been deemed a key effort of the Young Global Leaders of The World Economic Forum.

David is an Ashoka Fellow, a TED Senior Fellow and a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum. He has been honored by the Brazil Foundation, won The Social Entrepreneur of the Future by Schwab Foundation and Folha de São Paulo newspaper, Trip Transformadores Award from Trip Magazine, GQ Man of the Year Award and Faz a Diferença Award from O Globo Newspaper.