Helping others just by eating

TEXT: CATHY VAN KLAVEREN | PHOTO © CULISHOTS FOODFOTOGRAFIE

What are you supposed to do when you have been detained and are expected by society to take care of yourself when you are out of jail? Klaasjan Krook and his partner Karin Nijman help women aged between 25 and 35 who cannot get a job. They set up a restaurant called Rebelz aan de Rotte because it is by the Rotte (“one of the most beautiful places in Rotterdam”) to give these ladies a second chance at rebuilding their life.

“The first thing these girls want when they get back to society is to get their life on track again,” says Krook. “We developed a programme with the Horeca Academie, a school for hotel and catering businesses, to train these ladies.” In the restaurant, these ladies can put their knowledge directly to use. It is a win-win situation; the women get an education and a job while the restaurant has new staff every now and then.

It took about a year from start to finish, but Krook and his partner had a lot of luck. “We came in contact with a Syrian chef, who has his own restaurant. He wanted to help us with supplies. His ideas about food inspired us. We found out he’s a star chef, and he wanted to help us out because he believes in second chances like no other.”

Although the social element of the restaurant is very important, the quality of the food and the dining experience is the main attraction at Rebelz aan de Rotte.
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