The man behind one of the world’s best restaurants is bringing a food revolution to Brownsville.
The Melting Pot Foundation — brainchild of superstar chef Claus Meyer and co-founder of lauded Danish restaurant, Noma — is set to open a culinary school in the Brooklyn neighborhood next month. Its aim is to teach local students how to prepare food inspired by local traditions and culture; and the yearlong program guarantees job placement after graduation with a food handler’s license.
A restaurant connected to the culinary school is due to follow sometime this summer, according to foundation co-founder Lucas Denton.
One way Denton and Meyers have been preparing for the program is by meeting with different groups in the community in order to get a sense of their needs, concerns and traditions. “Everything is being tailored to the area,” said Brownsville resident Brenda Duchene. “They’re trying to plan a curriculum for all the ethnic groups, as much as possible in this district. And that is something important.” Duchene is the founder of Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance, a Brownsville organization that will be working with the MPF’s program to promote healthy eating in the community. The Ladies of Elegance have five community gardens and run a farmers market that students in the culinary program will be able to access.
“I feel that Claus has done a great thing in choosing this community because it’s a community that really needs it,” Duchene said. “He didn’t have to choose [Brownsville]. New York City has so many different communities with the same kind of disparities.”
The school will focus on cuisine “based on foods and ingredients of the African Diaspora, expanding to address all global cuisine,” according to the MPF, along with flavors that echo the cultural heritage of area’s residents.
Meyer has been working on a few projects in NYC, in addition to the school. Others include pop-up Meyers Bageri, inside of Williamsburg’s Margo Patisserie, along with two separate restaurants within Grand Central Terminal — both due to open in the spring.
Classes for the school are set to begin late March, with applications still open. Those interested can apply at meltingpotfoundation.org.