Visa Award and Vision for Kitchen Challenge

We are delighted to announce the award of a Distinguished Talent Visa to our Founding Director Rob Rees MBE DL.

Having successfully gained permanent residency, we today review 2017 and discuss the future of one of our key projects – Kitchen Challenge.

2017 has been spent developing Kitchen Challenge Australia – a project that changes behaviour and unlocks potential. Pilot projects took part in Bendigo, Melbourne and Sydney.

The Kitchen Challenge program is delivered 1 day per week for 8 weeks and involves 14 people per cohort. It combines high pressure cooking environment with personal development scenarios. Concluding with a stakeholder celebration for 45 people, the cohort prepare and serve food of the highest quality.

50 people directly (180 indirectly) experienced the developmental journey in 2017 with aspirations for 210 in 2018 and 350 in 2019 in Australia and New Zealand.

The project has overarching goals in developing leaders, creating meaningful employment, igniting human potential and showcasing the value of purpose in a business world. It involves preparing many new recipes, practical surprises and academic theory. Everyone has their own motivations for taking part.

In addition, Kitchen Challenge, blends leaders from the business world with people who, for many reasons, face challenges in their lives. 2017 involved carers, those overcoming addiction, homelessness and wider mental health issues. Importantly though it recognises the person not the problem.

2018 will extend participation to young people aged 18 to 24 as well as those living in social housing.

What does Kitchen Challenge look like in 5 years?

  • It will be an essential solution for commissioners in preventive health, community development and career creation in Australia and New Zealand.
  • It will be informing changes in Government policy, structures and process in health, education, and the economy – saving public money.
  • It will be supporting the development of better purpose, employer engagement and connectivity in 100 businesses. Those companies will become equipped to be outstanding in their field.
  • We will have a robust evidence base gathered in partnership with collaborators and hybrid challenges that will ensure a sustainable investment.
  • 30% of our participants will have become entrepreneurs
  • 99% of participants will have improved mental health and well-being.
  • 50% of participants will be Employers and Employees from the SME sector ,Start Up companies and Social Entrepreneurs
  • Over 1000 participants will have engaged in our activities.
  • We (in partnership with others) will have hub kitchens in Sydney and Melbourne offering community enrichment, workforce development and food skills fit for the future across communities.

As we reflect, adapt and look forward what have we learnt?

We have experienced just a small amount of the diversity of Australia. An amazing country and one that has welcomed our work. The communities we have engaged with are full of great people and opportunity. We are relishing the creation of something that improves lives and creates mutually beneficial understanding.

Participants of the challenge share their vulnerabilities, develop and share skills, collaborate with purpose and as individuals recalibrate their own goals, aspirations and opportunities.

Thanks to trailblazers like Miele Australia, Brimbank City Council, Bendelta, Bendigo Secondary College and other interested collaborators the Australian challenge has begun. There are results showing significant improvements in health and wellbeing amongst all taking part and subsequent changes in sense of purpose, emotional intelligence, connection and empathy of participants.

Rob Rees MBE DL says “The first year’s participants have helped to create a project that others will now follow. They have led the way with their investment of time, skills and collaboration. We have something now pertinent and ready to deliver across Australia and New Zealand. I can’t thank them enough for their investment as pioneers and leaders. It’s exciting times for Kitchen Challenge over the next 5 years.”

Find out more at

We are ready to share knowledge, collaborate, scale up, innovate and help seek out positive change.


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