New $30,000 program seeks to provide support for culinary professionals in an industry still grappling with the effects of the pandemic
Wallaby Organic®, the Australian-inspired, slow-crafted premium yogurt from Certified B Corporation® Danone North America, recently announced the launch of the Wallaby Culinary Dream Contest to empower chefs who dream of opening their own culinary business.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the restaurant and hospitality industries have been in a state of crisis. Restaurants that managed to stay afloat are now facing new challenges, with nearly half of establishments operating with 20% less staff than usual. Pandemic aside, starting out in this industry comes with a set of challenges inextricably linked to capital availability. From significant culinary school debt to an average starting salary of under $50,000 for those with a culinary arts degree, it takes years of hustle and financial backing to open up a restaurant, which on average totals $375,000.
“The issues facing the restaurant industry are significant and we wanted to do our part to help aspiring chefs achieve their dreams,” said Lauren Baum, Senior Brand Manager at Wallaby Organic. “Wallaby is looking forward to giving back to food makers and food lovers—or those with a passion for cooking—because without them, we wouldn’t be here. Over the years, chefs have supported Wallaby so much, and we want to do everything we can to return the favor.”
The Wallaby Culinary Dream Contest will award $15,000 each to two current or former culinary students to help them achieve their dream of opening up their own restaurant, food truck or catering business. To further support contest winners, Wallaby teamed up with Chef Antonia Lofaso, a French Culinary Institute graduate, cookbook author, television personality and owner of three LA-based restaurants. A lover of Wallaby Organic herself, Chef Antonia will provide a virtual mentoring session to contest winners, offering advice and counsel on how to run and/or start a culinary business—from selecting a location to developing a menu, hiring staff and everything in between.
“As a culinary school graduate, chef and restaurant owner, I know how hard the road to success in this industry can be,” said Chef Antonia Lofaso. “Advocating for and championing culinary students, chefs and restaurateurs—especially after eighteen months of turmoil—is so near and dear to my heart, and I’m proud to do it alongside Wallaby, a like-minded brand committed to using business as a force for good.”
The Wallaby Culinary Dream Contest is a manifestation of Wallaby’s commitment to facilitating success stories similar to its own, by empowering and celebrating all food makers and food lovers—the chefs, students, amateur foodies and seasoned pros—on their journey to achieve their dreams and do what they love.
To be eligible for the Wallaby Culinary Dream Contest, applicants must be 18+ years old and a current culinary student or culinary school graduate within the past 10 years. To enter, applicants must submit a 200-word write-up about their love of cooking and culinary dreams and goals, plus one original, creative recipe featuring Wallaby Organic yogurt. The contest runs from 9:30 a.m. EST on August 24, 2021 to 10:00 a.m. EST on September 13, 2021. All details are available at the Wallaby Culinary Dream Contest webpage.
Wallaby Yogurt Company is a premium yogurt brand that has been producing great tasting organic yogurt for over 20 years. The company was born out of an adventure that began Down Under. It was during a trip to Australia that Wallaby’s founders chanced across a deliciously distinctive yogurt. Convinced that Americans would love Australian-style yogurt as much as they did, they set off on a mission with one simple goal: to produce the best tasting yogurt in America. To learn more about Wallaby Yogurt Company, please visit their website.
Danone North America is a purpose-driven company and an industry leader in the food and beverage category. As a Certified B Corporation®, Danone North America is committed to the creation of both economic and social value, while nurturing natural ecosystems through sustainable agriculture. Our strong portfolio of brands includes: Activia®, DanActive®, Danimals®, Dannon®, evian®, Happy Family® Organics, Honest to Goodness™, Horizon® Organic, International Delight®, Light + Fit®, Oikos®, Silk®, So Delicious® Dairy Free, STōK™, Two Good®, Wallaby® Organic and YoCrunch®. With more than 6,000 employees and 14 production locations across the U.S. and Canada, Danone North America’s mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. For more information, visit www.danonenorthamerica.com. For more information on Danone North America’s B Corp™ status, visit: https://bcorporation.net/directory/danone-north-america.
 Numbers are averages pulled from RaiseMe
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