Academic Research


UNHCR – Food for Inclusion

Food for Inclusion is a pilot project based on an international competitive call that is being implemented by the University of Gastronomic Science of Pollenzo in partnership with UNHCR.

SCIENTIFIC MANAGER: Maria Giovanni Onorati

OTHER UNISG RESEARCHERS INVOLVED: Andrea Pieroni, Simone Cinotto, Antonella Campanini, Diario Leone, Carol Povigna

PARTNERSHIP: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – UNHCR

DURATION OF THE PROJECT: 12 months (From 01/01/2018 to 31/12/2018)

FUNDING INSTRUMENT: EOI/ITARO/2/SMl/2018 “Assistance and Protection to Persons of Concern in ltaly (lntegration)”




The project aims at providing instruments of empowerment in the job market to Refugees and Asylum Seekers through an educational pathway centered on gastronomy and cookery.

Given the integration potentialities of food, the project points to providing an innovative and highly qualified training model in the professional field of gastronomy, that combines different educational approaches (formal and informal, indoor and outdoor) and didactical strategies (experiential learning, active learning, peer learning, on job learning), so as to facilitate refugees’ employability in the job market of the host society.

Since migration is a bi-directional process that demands a change both in the newcomers, and in the host society, the beneficiaries of the learning pathway will be both a selected group of refugees and asylum seekers hosted in the reception system (SPRAR and CAS) of Piedmont Region, and a group of educators and trainers coming from different parts of Italy who usually work with refugees and already used gastronomy as part of their educational interventions.

The “indoor” educational activities will be carried out in the Pollenzo FoodLab, the Cookery School integrated within the Unisg, that will transform the professional kitchen into a didactical setting as well as a co-working space particularly fit to a target group with a so much heterogeneous background. Thanks to the combination of theorical classes and practical activities of cooking sessions, the training will be particularly able to value prior informal knowledge and hidden talents as well as will help the newcomers’ process of resilience.

Besides the training activity, the project has also carried out a research and monitoring activity through two routes: 1) in-depth interviews with the various actors involved in the integration process; 2) preparation of ad hoc feedback and evaluation tools, relying on a valid system of impact indicators, which allow to measure the effectiveness of the educational path and the impact of the whole project on the beneficiaries’ empowerment, on employability and on the process of resilience and integration of beneficiaries.



Maria Giovanna Onorati (a cura di), Cibo per l’inclusione. Pratiche di gastronomia per l’accoglienza, Milano: Franco Angeli, collana: Politiche Migratorie (volume pubblicato con il supporto di UNHCR), in corso di stampa.

Onorati  M.G. (2023). Comida e Refugiados: Entre Entitlement e Empowerment, Para uma Migração Forçada Sustentável. O Potencial da Educação Gastronômica no Sistema de Acolhimento Italiano. In F. Trentini, P. Branco, M. Catalan(coord.). Direito e comida: do campo à mesa: cidadania, consumo, saúde e exclusão social (pp. 371-384). Belo Horizonte: Fórum, 2023. ISBN 978-65-5518-439-6