June 7, 2021 Carlos A. Coriano

Youth from the Zurquí Youth Training Center will receive training in gastronomy

San José, June 7, 2021. Young people who are in prison at the Zurquí Youth Training Center, in Heredia, will participate in a training program that will prepare them in sustainable and healthy gastronomy.

This will be possible through the agreement signed this Monday between the Minister of Justice and Peace, Fiorella Salazar Rojas, and Randy Siles Leandro, co-founder of Autóktono.

The purpose of the agreement is to provide a course in sustainable and healthy gastronomy to five of the young people from the Zurquí Youth Training Center which will allow them to become certified in this activity while contributing to the process of social insertion by opening the doors to the labor market.

The initiative is part of Autóktonos mission to “empower a new generation of cooks and thus transform community food systems through sustainable and healthy gastronomy and advance food sovereignty”.

The Ministry of Justice and Peace (MJP) will provide the facilities for the gastronomic academy to give its lessons, which will first be virtual before moving on to face-to-face. The selection of apprentices will depend on the recommendation of the Guidance Technical Section of the Zurquí Youth Training Center.

“This agreement opens a very new door of gastronomic training for the boys and girls of Zurquí because it is not only about learning haute cuisine, but also that it can be carried out with inputs grown by themselves to promote sustainability and Health. With this, a very important bridge of creativity is fostered between the available products and the preparation possibilities”, commented the minister.

“We believe that these new opportunities are motivating for boys and girls because it will allow them to differentiate themselves in the gastronomic market and invites them to develop their skills and abilities,” added the MJP chief.

Likewise, Minister Salazar made reference to the great pride that the institution has “that a Costa Rican chef-celebrity like Randy Siles, of enormous international prestige, is so motivated to share his knowledge with the boys and girls of Zurquí.”

“Randy’s trajectory also brings the valuable research he carries out on indigenous products and flavors, which is an added value because it connects us with a part of the lesser-known heritage and essence of Costa Rican cuisine. This will undoubtedly be a great experience for the participants”, he said.

Cooking as a means of transformation. “As agents of change, chefs have the responsibility and obligation not only to protect our gastronomic heritage, the environment and promote the activation of local economies, but also to offer health and well-being to our communities.

“It is an honor and pride for us to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Ministry of Justice and Peace and the Zurquí Youth Training Center to launch the first course on Sustainable and Healthy Gastronomy in Costa Rica with the purpose of educating young people deprived of liberty, and thus facilitate social reintegration”, affirmed chef Randy Siles and Carlos Coriano, co-founders of Autóktono.

Last May, another group of 10 young people from the Zurquí Youth Training Center began to receive training as automotive mechanics by the National Learning Institute (INA), when the workshop of the Social Adaptation Directorate became a study center.


Autóktono and Ministry of Justice and Peace





Ministerio de Justicia y Paz

Tel: 2202-0715 | Email: [email protected]

Ministerio de Justicia y Paz



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