50 Next - Matt Jozwiak - Trailblazing Activists
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Class of 2021

Matt Jozwiak

Trailblazing Activists

33 / New York, USA

The globetrotting chef training crosshairs on international food insecurity

In his career as a chef, Matt Jozwiak worked his way up the brigades in some of the world’s finest kitchens, ascending to the role of chef de partie at Best of the Best restaurant Eleven Madison Park. In 2016, he decided to make an about face and leave his post at the celebrated New York restaurant to focus his attention and skills on feeding people in need.

In partnership with his old EMP boss Daniel Humm, Matt launched Rethink Food, an organisation that collects excess food from restaurants, grocery stores and corporate kitchens and repurposes it to make nutritious meals for those facing food poverty. Rethink Food aims to bridge the gap between the 70 billion tons of food that goes to waste and the 42 million Americans facing food insecurity each year. To date, the company has served more than three million meals and secured 100 jobs for chefs who would otherwise be out of work due to the pandemic. Meals are currently being distributed at a rate of 45,000 per week to those who can’t afford to feed their families and this number continues to rise every day.

Rethink Food is currently putting together a workable franchise model that can connect local restaurants with their neighbourhoods and those facing food insecurity. The Rethink Certified Program is already providing grants to independent restaurants to help them feed their local communities and has invested over $15 million to restaurants, which is bringing more hospitality staff back to work and providing a sustainable model to beleaguered restaurants. The next challenge for Matt is to scale the programme on an international level. He is confident it is a matter of time before he can bring it into effect.

“Rethink Food’s core values are kindness, vulnerability, thoughtfulness and inventiveness. These are the principles upon which we make decisions every day. I emphasise inventiveness instead of innovation, because I believe that people who innovate look at the world with unlimited resources, whereas we look at the tools we have available to us to come up with creative solutions.” – Matt Jozwiak

Images: Evan Sung

Matt Jozwiak
  • "I’ve been so impressed by Matt ever since he first worked with us at Eleven Madison Park, and can’t think of anyone who deserves this honor more. His vision for a seamless way to tackle food insecurity and support restaurants through the most difficult year in memory led us to create the Rethink Certified program together in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. With visionaries like him, the way to change the restaurant model and end hunger seems so much more achievable."
  • Daniel Humm
  • Eleven Madison Park

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