FoodHero is a new Chicago social enterprise culinary school in the River North area focused on certified culinary training for individuals pursuing career paths in the food service industry and food entrepreneurship. The goals of educating and empowering local community organizations in the areas of nutrition and cooking are close to home for co-founders Javier Haro and Juan Saldana. The organization’s mission is to become and to establish the heroes of change and empowerment within minority communities. Addressing local issues of food desserts, food justice, small businesses, and job creation are high on the priority list for FoodHero. Lending a helping a hand through education to women, ex-offenders, youth, minorities, and LGBT groups is another key focus of the organization, as FoodHero wants to level the playing field in the food industry.
The co-founders bring over 20 years of combined work experience in restaurant management, small business consulting, innovation, and IT. They were part of a handful of subject matter experts that developed the first industry Food & Beverage Competency Model and are certified trainers with the National Restaurant Association. They are active members and rely heavily on the support of the IL Restaurant Association, Food & Beverage Network, and Family Farm. When Javier and Juan are not in the boardroom or classroom, they’re out working on their other entrepreneurial projects. Currently, they are working on offering culinary medicine and indoor farming training for 2019 and on becoming one of the first startups to offer medically tailored meals for individuals that suffer from various ailments.
FoodHero places big emphasis on diversity and empowerment for its students, small businesses, and communities. Most recently, we saw evidence of this when the school was invited to participate in the annual World of Chocolate fundraising event to support the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
The school, led by chef instructors Enrique Cortes and Edgar Rodriguez, came together to assist fellow student, entrepreneur, and pastry chef Blaque Shelton and his son Pierre Shelton. One of the founder’s daughters, 8-year-old Kalya Garcia, and her mother, Rosie Esquivel, also came out to assist with developing and showcasing the My Goodness Chocolate Bar.
My Goodness is a chocolate bar packed with spices and dry fruit with “goodness” properties for the mind, body, and soul. The chocolate bar allows for nonprofits, schools, kids, and any other organization that is looking to fundraise for a sport or a social cause to buy the bars at a discounted rate and then resell them for donations.
- Located at: 820 N. Orleans, Chicago, Illinois 60610
- Co-Founders: Javier Haro & Juan Saldana
- Operations/Administration: Rosie Esquivel
- Cell: (773) 630-6031
- Cell: (773) 993-2542
- Email: Javier@foodhe.ro, Rosie@foodhe.ro