MAD Yale Leadership Summit


We are delighted to announce the MAD Institute at Yale University, a new educational institute for chefs. This program, to be held annually at Yale, will help create and curate new discussions within the chef trade as it continues to develop past the walls of the restaurant.


Our goal is to equip chefs with the tools they need to take actions that can impact their communities, cities, countries and the rest of the world. Partnering with Yale is an opportunity to realize the potential we believe chefs have to influence how we eat now and in the future. Combining this with the university’s resources and brilliant educational system we think we can provide a new knowledge base, one that has often been overlooked, and reinvent leadership for chefs. We will lead conversations on topics like kitchen culture, sustainability, inclusiveness, and respect. The educational program we’re creating will reflect the realities of our changing profession and a changing world, offering new ideas on how to overcome its obstacles as well as ways in which we can harness its potential.

We believe that chefs wield unprecedented influence; that they can offer new perspectives and innovative solutions to serious global issues. The institute will thus expose participants to experiences, ideas, and principles that they can use to think creatively and critically about food-related issues.

“Yale is excited to partner with MAD to inspire a new era of leadership in food,” says Jonathan Holloway, dean of Yale College. “Participants will leave the program armed with a compassionate understanding of the socio-economic, environmental, and health challenges facing food systems around the world, and inspired to bring lasting change.”

The MAD Institute at Yale will begin with a pilot program in 2016: a group of six to eight top chefs and food leaders that will trial and build the curriculum in an intensive weeklong summit. In 2017 the program will be extended to two weeks and expand to host 15 to 18 participants chosen through an application process.

The MAD Institute at Yale will draw upon the university’s rich and varied programming in food studies. The Yale Sustainable Food Program, established in 2001, runs two teaching farms on campus, and supports a range of curricular and extra-curricular study. The program connects students from across academic disciplines to opportunities for study and practice in food, health, and the environment.

While planning for next summer’s inaugural institute is in the early stage, the program will feature lectures, workshops, and discussion seminars, as well as visits to nearby farms, kitchens, and food system innovations and innovators. With faculty mentorship from Yale and other institutions and organizations, participants will engage controversial and complex issues with critical academic rigor.

About MAD

MAD (taken from the Danish word for “food”) is a nonprofit organization that brings together a global cooking community with a social conscience, a sense of curiosity, and an appetite for change.