Meet Harold Villarosa – Chef Founder of The Insurgo Project - Social Gastronomy Hub in New York City

Updated: Jan 22

Committed to raising awareness to a new inclusive narrative in the restaurant industry while teaching and empowering youth, creating opportunities for the unprivileged and building the foundation for a healthier future.

Photo: courtesy by Harold Villarosa

Chef Harold Villarosa, who is Filipino born and South Bronx raised, began his kitchen industry experience at McDonald's. Now, he includes globally renowned restaurants including Noma, Aquavit, Bâtard, Per Se and many more as part of his resume. This experience has been an inspiration to many in his community.

During all these years in the food industry, Chef Villarosa has always been involved in education and entrepreneurship. The Insurgo Project, his community collective focuses on farm-to-table movements in low-income neighborhoods in New York City and around the World. The project creates an interdisciplinary curriculum for each group of young people, customized to each school’s leadership program. The mission is to help inner-city youth rise above difficult environments by giving students a recipe for success. Harold has already reached 2500 students locally and internationally as well as giving former prisoners the opportunity to access jobs in restaurants and create their own path to success.

As Covid-19 started, and Villarosa’s restaurant comedy club concept, The Stand, closed its doors, he seized the opportunity to transition to the food media. At Bon appétit magazine, this social impact leader increases the dialogue surrounding racism, diversity, and inclusion in the restaurant industry.

Welcome Harold to Chefs for Impact!

By Harold Villarosa as told to Chefs for Impact

How’s your experience working with Bon Appétit magazine?

“This media platform is currently leading the way by talking about this inclusive new narrative in the culinary industry. We’re exploring the new rules of diversity, inclusivity, and equity in the restaurant business. As part of the social gastronomy movement, we talk about creating the new Escoffier system, a system where there is still a person controlling the kitchen, but there won't be the same strict hierarchy. We’re discussing a new co-op system where brigades can buy into a business and be a business owner.”