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 in Rio de Janeiro, co-founded with Food for Soul’s chef Massimo Bottura and journalist Ale Forbes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gastromotiva’s classes and dinners at the Refettorio were suspended. As a solution, the space was transformed into a food bank, the classes were migrated to online platforms and a new project was created, the Solidarity Kitchens, in which students and alumni of Gastromotiva use their own kitchens to prepare meals for the most vulnerable.

Primarily based in Brazil, Mexico and El Salvador, Gastromotiva is the catalyst force behind the Social Gastronomy Movement of which David is the co-founder. SGM cultivates connections, collaborations and partnerships that strengthen our individual and collective capacity to co-create an equitable future, inclusive society and healthy planet.

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.


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