Jean-François Archambault, Founder of La Tablée des Chefs
After studying hotel management at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) in 1997, Jean-François, son of Jean-Pierre Archambault and grandson of Pierre and Aimée Desjardins, began his career as a sales representative in large hotels. He then became sales manager for several establishments in the metropolitan area, working for the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Marriott, and Urgo Hotels chains.
Jean-François is the founder and General Manager of La Tablée des Chefs, an organization that works to both feed people in need and develop food autonomy among youth. He presented this idea in 2002 to leaders in the culinary and hotel industries; an idea that became a reality shortly after.
Since then, La Tablée’s food recovery program has expanded from Quebec to British Columbia, Mexico, and France. The redistribution of foodstuffs is done in a timely manner. In terms of culinary education for young people, the organization’s flagship program is undoubtedly the Kitchen Brigades, introductory cooking workshops that operate in 150 high schools.
March 2020, La Grande Tablée, the fundraising event that helps finance the organization’s programs, is being prepared and other projects are in the works… but everything is cancelled because of the pandemic. The Tablée des Chefs team realized that they had to adapt quickly. Jean-François was able to make the link between the needs of the underprivileged and the charity and restaurant networks to define a new emergency initiative: The Solidarity Kitchens. They will cook meals that will then be distributed through the network of food banks across the country.
Chefs and cooks, whose professional activities are on pause due to the pandemic, are being brought back to work for the benefit of this new program. Over the months, more than 200 chefs and cooks have taken part in this initiative.
By the end of 2020, more than 2.4 million meals had been cooked and distributed to food support organizations in Quebec. It was a tour de force to successfully organize the collection of products, the distribution of meals, the search for storage space for the meals and their distribution in the community!
In 2020, the revenues of La Grande Tablée have dropped due to the pandemic. To make up for this shortfall, La Tablée des Chefs is launching the The Solidarity Gift Baskets in December 2020: an assortment of products designed exclusively by renowned local chefs. All the Solidarity Gift Baskets have been sold. The sale of the gift baskets will allow La Tablée des Chefs to continue its mission in 2021!
While the population continues to suffer the effects of the pandemic and food insecurity is still present across the country, La Tablée des Chefs and its partners are once again mobilizing and re-launching The Solidarity Kitchens activities. The goal is to cook and deliver more than 2 million servings to food banks in Canada by 2021, including more than 1.6 million for food banks and community organizations in Quebec.
Jean-François Archambault, who orchestrated “the largest food preparation in Canada” with a competent and generous team, promises that they will be there as long as necessary.
Caribou magazine, which highlights Quebec’s culinary culture, has awarded him the title of Personnalité Caribou 2020. Jean-François Archambault, leader of a great culinary orchestra!
The Association des Archambault d’Amérique is proud to present Jean-François Archambault, a true “Illustrious Archambault”!
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Caribou Magazine : Article of December 7, 2020 by Hélène Raymond