David Hertz

Founder, Gastromotiva

Born in Curitiba, David received a strong education in Jewish values and traditions from his family and as a student at a faith-based school, where he participated in weekly group activities and camps. Exploring the possibility of living in Israel, after turning 18, he spent a year on a kibbutz with a group of forty young Brazilian Jews. There he began working in a kitchen. During this eye-opening trip, David discovered new ways to perceive himself and the world around him. In his case, cuisine was the catalyst for this transformative process, while also his means to earn a living. He later spent time in countries around Asia, Europe, and North America and always worked in the areas of gastronomy and hospitality.

Returning to Brazil, David was determined not to follow the career path defined by his family, inheriting their small button factory, but instead, would pursue his passion. David moved to Sao Paulo in 1997, by which time the “haute cuisine” movement was beginning to gain traction. He worked in all aspects of kitchens, from washing dishes to cooking, and regarded even the most menial jobs as valuable. In 2004, already working in the restaurant industry as a consultant to chefs, David set up a kitchen in the favela of Jaguaré. From the moment he stepped into this kitchen, he experienced a profound change, understanding that he could use his knowledge and expertise to serve youth in the community. As David embarked on this process, he became acquainted with the work of Artemisia, which through its network of entrepreneurs inspired him to set up his own project and methodology. This initiative, the Citizen Cook Program, sought to enable young people from the community to participate in the restaurant industry. Using the culinary arts as a means of civic education, this program later gave birth to Gastromotiva, a program for personal and professional development among marginalized young people from the favelas, enabling them to join the working world and even become entrepreneurs in their communities.

Energized by his creation of a successful model that joins professional development with personal values and community engagement, David hopes to increase the social impact of his work with impoverished young people and other vulnerable groups. Hertz is Artemisia entrepreneur, fellow Ashoka and has received prizes and recognition for this project, and he was one of the most important names in “Young Global Leader” nomination ar World Economic Forum, in 2012. He was also recognized by media, when he received the award of Social Responsibility from Prazeres da Mesa magazine in 2008; the title of “Future Social Entrepreneur” by Folha de S. Paulo in 2009; and Top Paulistano by Veja S.Paulo magazine, in 2012. Recently, he was honored by Brazil Foundation and O Globo newspaper, with Jury Special Prize in Rio Gastronomia Festival, in August 2013.