Community and Friendship and Family

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Why are personal connections the key to success? In this episode of Add Passion and Stir, Jennifer Eddy (Founder and Executive Director of Root in Salem, MA) and Michael Pagliarini (Chef and Owner of Giulia and Benedetto in Boston) discuss how success is so often predicated on having strong social ties within a community. A No Kid Hungry supporter, Chef Pagliarini sees his restaurants as invaluable pieces of the communities they serve. “When a restaurant can feel like it is part of a community where the community has a sense of ownership of that restaurant, that’s when it’s working,” he says. Eddy sees the same dynamic at Root, a non-profit social enterprise that serves at-risk and disconnected youth through culinary and life skills training programs. “At the end of their 5-hour shift, [participants] all sit down for a family meal together. I think is probably one of the most powerful parts of Root…They suddenly have a community and a friendship and a family,” she says.

Pagliarini also sees the strong community that happens in a restaurant kitchen. “The sense of comradery in a kitchen is one of the most galvanizing forces that keeps people coming back,” he explains. In addition to learning “wrap-around” skills such as interviewing, financial literacy and teamwork, students at Root take on an externship in a busy kitchen at a local restaurant where they often become a valuable member of that restaurant community. “50-60% of young people that go through externships end up getting job offers from the [restaurant] where they worked,” Eddy notes.

Listen to how two social entrepreneurs explain the importance of strong community.

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