Cuisine Lab’s journey began in November 2016, when social entrepreneur Dan Stein, community specialist Rene Bangert, and former chef and public health specialist, Sarah Hoibak hosted a welcome dinner for asylum seekers and refugees in Geneva. It was an occasion to share a meal in a warm environment and learn about the culinary traditions of Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Syria.
These informal meals grew organically into an association in 2017 and, later on into a social enterprise, with a team of passionate refugee chefs providing catering and event services. After six years of incredible experiences and learning, Cuisine Lab matured into a true laboratory for social and economic integration of refugees that includes a training program and employment in a restaurant, catering and events.
Driven by the positive feedback from our clients and the great enthusiasm of our team, in February 2023 Cuisine Lab opened the doors of it first restaurant.
Our social program
Cuisine Lab is not just about the food. Together with refugees, social workers, pedagogical experts and culinary professionals, we co-designed a training program to help refugees perfect their skills and acquire experience to achieve meaningful employment in the culinary field.
The program includes five key focus areas:
1. Professional culinary and service training, with each student chef paired with an in-house social worker and a culinary trainer until completion of the Swiss Federal Attestation of Professional Training (AFP);
2. Placement in French language courses to help trainees reach a minimum B1 level;
3. Community intercultural events to foster social and cultural integration;
4. On-the-job training in sustainability, health and nutrition principles and practices;
5. Career counselling and job placement.
Our vision is to create an environment where honesty, openness, kindness, and professionalism are the foundation of all interactions, and where creativity and joy are embraced and celebrated as essential elements of human expression. We strive to foster an environment where individuals can be their authentic selves, and where collaboration and innovation are encouraged to make a positive impact on society.
Our vision is uniting the world, one plate at a time. We believe that the shared experience of enjoying delicious and culturally diverse cuisine brings people together, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries, and fostering understanding, empathy, and unity among all people. Whether it’s through a single plate or a communal feast, we believe that food has the power to bridge gaps, build relationships, and inspire positive change in the world.
We take great pride in providing a supportive platform for asylum seekers and refugees who aspire to build a career in the hospitality industry. Our program is designed to empower them by offering opportunities to develop their skills, gain valuable experience, and secure meaningful employment in the culinary field. Our ultimate goal is to help refugees achieve economic independence and foster their social integration into their new community, and we consider their success in achieving these milestones to be our greatest achievement.
At our core, we value honesty and openness, which allow us to build trust and strong relationships with our colleagues and customers. We strive to approach every interaction with kindness and professionalism, treating everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve. We believe that creativity is key to driving innovation and growth, and we encourage and embrace it in everything we do. And above all, we seek to cultivate joy in our work and in the lives of those we touch, bringing a sense of purpose and fulfilment to all we do.
50% of employees are asylum seekers and refugees
8,000+ customers served since 2016
People from 20 nationalities involved in Cuisine Lab
We Can’t Wait to
08.00 to 16.00
Tuesday to Friday
08.00 to 22.00
Saturday and Sunday
Rue Michelle Nicod 2, 1202 Genève
+41 22 314 56 68