Volunteer in Cooking Abroad

A Guide To

Cooking Volunteering Abroad

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370 Cooking Volunteer Abroad Programs

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Be part of an up and coming vegan bakery. The owner is a passionate chef with a great deal of knowledge in cooking and baking. He is a wonderful mentor who knows a lot about baking and running a successful business. He is constantly creating and inventing new vegan deserts by using creative food products that are vegan-friendly. For example, he omits butter and milk, so he makes his own substit...

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Thousands of volunteers from all over the world have trusted Love Volunteers to provide meaningful volunteering abroad placements in communities where their help is really needed. Join us on one of our safe, responsible and affordable Cooking programs for a truly memorable experience! Check out our exciting programs and become a Love Volunteer!

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GVI has been invited by the Seychelles government and local NGOs to assist their priority conservation programs on Curieuse Island. This program gives you the opportunity to live and work in one of the most stunning places on earth. Based on a tropical island, next to a picture postcard beach, you will work alongside GVI and local partner staff. Weekends allow the opportunity to explore near...

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Projects Abroad, a worldwide leader in international volunteer programs, has worked in Nepal since 1999 and has long-standing relationships with many organizations in Chitwan, Kathmandu, the Kathmandu Valley, and Ghandruk, especially with schools, children’s homes, and hospitals. As a response to the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015, Projects Abroad has set up a Disaster Relief projec...

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Immerse yourself in a welcoming rural community in the green mountains of south-west Uganda, right on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – a lush rainforest that is home to half the world’s population of rare mountain gorillas. Whatever your experience and whatever skills, ideas and knowledge you can bring, you’ll be able to share them through a bespoke volunteer programme with our s...

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When you volunteer in Guatemala, you'll be welcomed by the hospitality of the Guatemalan people who are usually mestizo, a mix of Spanish and Maya ancestry, or they are direct descendants of the Maya. Following a military coup in 1954, Guatemala plunged into a brutal 36-year-long civil war between government military forces and left-wing guerilla groups. Though the conflict is now long over,...

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Are you adept at sign language and communicating with children with special needs and hearing impairment? Join our team and volunteer at a school for deaf children in the Philippines. Get the opportunity to work with local teachers and kids, helping improve learning and class interaction. An estimated 150 babies in the Philippines are born every day with hearing loss and an astonishing 27,000 b...

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Volunteer with Connect-123 in South Africa! Connect-123 works with local NGOs to find you a meaningful volunteer project based on your unique skills and interests. Opportunities are available in health care, community service, education, working with animals and more! And while you're giving back to community, your free time will be packed with adventures and unique Cape Town experiences! ...

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CrossContinental offers affordable intern abroad, volunteer abroad, culture/language immersion programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Gain hands-on experience, improve your resume, enhance cultural understanding, and build global network. Stay with a host family for culture and language immersion.

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Adelante Abroad offers low cost volunteer programs in a wide variety of fields and causes (listed below) in Oaxaca, Mexico. Volunteers can work for up to 12 months and programs are offered year round. Programs are customizable; you'll be paired with organizations in need of specific skills while allowing you to reach your academic and career goals. Oaxaca is one of the most biodiverse ar...

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Like any third world country, the Philippines suffers from diseases due to poor hygiene and sanitation brought about by poor awareness programs. This is one of the major issues the country needs to face, and come up with solutions to. A lot of people in rural areas cannot afford to pay for medicines and regular medical check-ups. Volunteer for the Visayans is reaching out to those in need of...

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ELI

Looking for a way to help feed the hungry? The local Mother’s Club, a group created by the city of Ayacucho as a way to organize, educate, and empower the local low-income women, has organized a soup kitchen. The soup kitchen is entirely run by volunteers serves nutritious lunches, focusing particularly on disadvantaged children and elderly populations. The Mother’s Club need volunteers to assi...

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Be a caring mentor, teacher, guide, and champion as a Global Volunteer in St. Lucia. Global Volunteers began working with Anse la Raye's schools and community organizations in 2012 and initiated the Reaching Children's Potential (RCP) Program in 2014. RCP supports children's development and growth from conception through age 18. Volunteers in St. Lucia help pregnant mothers, teachers, and commu...

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Kenya is a land of intense beauty, epic landscapes, fascinating tribes and exuberant communities. Magnificent wildlife roam across vast Rift Valley plains, white sand beaches fringe the turquoise Indian Ocean and ancient tribal communities practice traditional customs little changed since the dawn of time. All these combine to provide a destination of unparalleled appeal and fascination. WHA...

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A dual project and dual country volunteering option by Bamboo, this program offers plenty of wonderful opportunities. Experience 14 nights of wonder, adventure, and excitement in two different countries - Cambodia and Thailand! Participate in two very different and exciting projects, including a trip back in time - over 1,000 years - at the unbelievable UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat....

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Cooking Volunteering Abroad

Food is essential to life, but many people around the world are unsure of where their next meal will come from, or unaware of the daily nutritional needs of themselves and their families. Volunteering abroad in cooking is a small step in a big direction, toward a world where everyone has access to affordable, nutritious, and delicious food for every meal. Cooking volunteer opportunities are flourishing for involved volunteers interested in harvesting, picking, or preparing food. Whether food is your one true passion or the issues of starvation and poverty resonate with you, there is the perfect cooking volunteer opportunity for you somewhere in the world.

Why Volunteer Abroad in Cooking

From the viewpoint of a developed country, we are privileged to have access to grocery stores open 24/7, along with access to social welfare programs, such as food banks and homeless shelters. For many, these options do not exist, and finding meals is a difficult and demanding task. It can be very humbling to aide in the efforts to feed those who might otherwise go without food, especially because a majority of those in starvation-level poverty are children.

Volunteers with experience in the food industry are always in demand with non-profit organizations that aim to provide food for those in need. On the other hand, if you are a chef-in-training or a professional cook, the appeal to volunteer abroad may come from the invaluable experience you will gain while preparing meals using new ingredients not previously available to you, or learning to prepare traditional food native to the country in which you are volunteering. Cooking in a different nation is undoubtedly an eye-opening experience that will expose you to new recipes and flavors; broaden your culinary horizon by spicing up your usual dishes or discovering entirely new ones.

Locations

Whether you’re choosing a nation based off an interest in their cuisine and available ingredients, or you are looking to help in a particular area of need, including areas recently affected by natural disasters, the perfect cooking volunteer experience is out there waiting for you.

Step away from the aisles filled with brightly colored sugar cereals and into a world where food is picked straight from the ground; volunteering in cooking in one of the many underserved countries in Africa will show you an entirely new perspective on cooking. East Africa, in particular, has limited access to resources, education, and nutritious food, and is therefore in greatest demand of cooking volunteers.

In Kenya, they frequently serve ugali, a porridge made from local grains, and sukumu wiki, a dish made of greens prepared in large quantities, to malnourished populations. Travel south to Uganda, where you can prepare a wide variety of stews made from vegetables, legumes, and chicken to communities that struggle to eat three solid meals daily. Lastly, volunteers traveling to Seychelles, an island off the coast of East Africa, can provide food and nutritional education with more of an “Under the Sea” vibe (thanks in large part to the variety of seafood dishes endemic to the region).

For those interested in improving their Spanish skills while volunteering abroad, Central and South America offer unique opportunities to do so. Some parts of Mexico are highly developed, however great wealth disparities exist, forcing many people, even in large cities, into starvation. Cooking volunteers in México will serve a variety of corn, bean, and chili pepper dishes to a mostly invisible population of poor inner-city children. Further South, Chile functions mainly on seafood dishes, and cooking volunteer opportunities often involve helping with the massive wine industry, either by serving workers or helping pick grapes. Becoming a cooking volunteer in Chile will likely be much more of “high-end” version of volunteering abroad.

Cooking Volunteer Programs Abroad

Every volunteer comes with their own set of skills and areas of enthusiasm, so each cooking volunteer experience abroad will look very different. Though most cooking volunteers are looking to be placed in a kitchen somewhere, there are abundant cooking volunteer opportunities involving every step of the food preparation process, from farm to table.

Institutional Settings. One of the most underserved populations across the world are children, so orphanage and group-home cooking volunteer placements are immensely popular. In these placements, cooking volunteer work will involve preparing large amounts of healthy food for children residing in the centers. Many orphanages also encourage volunteers to conduct educational outreach programs to teach young families about nutrition or provide them with healthy ingredients for their meals.

Shelters & Food Banks. Soup kitchens or other places that serve poor and homeless populations in large cities are always in need of cooking volunteers. In these placements, volunteers will help prepare food, while learning recipes from local volunteers and supervisors. Food banks help organize donated food into easily prepared meals, which often requires volunteers with cooking experience.

Nonprofit Outreach. Many nonprofit organizations focus their efforts on nutrition education in large cities where issues on the opposite end of the nutrition spectrum, from childhood obesity to malnutrition, are frequently present in large numbers because healthy food sources are not widely available, affordable, or accessible. These types of cooking volunteer programs will be truly eye-opening, and volunteers will find that sharing nutritional information is vital to community growth and development. Not to mention, the nutritional knowledge locals learn will stick with them for many years, allowing them to better feed themselves and their families. 

Benefits & Challenges

For some, food is one of the main incentives to travel. But taking your passion one step further, by learning how to make new foods while helping underserved populations, combating world hunger, and alleviating malnutrition, may very well be one of the most impactful experiences of your life!

Fill a Need. Culinary skills are in high demand the world over, and yet cooks and culinary geniuses are rarely tapped to utilize their skills for the less fortunate. If you have vast culinary knowledge and are interested in traveling, there’s no limit to how many lives you may touch with your cooking skills by becoming a cooking volunteer abroad.

Broaden Your Knowledge Base. Though not the direct goal of cooking volunteer work, cooking in a new region is bound to expand your culinary knowledge. Whether it is access to fresh seafood in abundance or the ability to use a vegetable in a myriad of different ways, there is much information to be gained during any cooking volunteer program abroad.

Realize Your Place in the World. Helping others achieve fulfillment of their basic needs will be incredibly humbling. However, this may lead you to feel anger, confusion, and possibly guilt. In this way, cooking volunteer work can be a rollercoaster of emotions as you are exposed to disparities in the food industry on a global scale. Just remember: your suffering pales in comparison to the daily challenges being faced by underserved communities. Keep a straight head and vow to make good changes on your host communities, instead of retracting too deeply into your emotions.

Grab your apron, work on your fire hands, and take your able-body abroad to help hungry communities around the world. This is the 21st century, people, and there are enough cooking volunteer opportunities to go around. So, saddle up to a stranger’s dinner table, break bread, and share in a human exchange as old as dirt!

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