Liliyot Restaurant’s uniqueness lies in the social action initiative it has been running for the past decade. The initiative provides high school drop-outs with culinary training. The project gives hope and inspiration to these youth at risk by offering them the prospect of a career in the food services industry. In collaboration with Elem — the Organization for Youth at Risk (a not-for-profit organization). Every year Liliyot Restaurant trains and employs 20 young people. They receive instruction, supervision and employment for a period of up to a year and a half.
With assistance from Liliyot’s restaurant and kitchen staff — a team imbued with professionalism as well as an acute sense of social responsibility, and under the auspices and close supervision of social workers, the youngsters undergo an in-depth course of culinary training. This training provides them with a profession in high demand in the restaurant sector. For the first time in their lives, these young people acquire tools essential for integration into society as useful, contributing citizens.
The opening of Liliyot Bakery made it possible to extend this social action project in two ways. The program was expanded, accepting additional participants. In addition, the training was broadened to include units in baking and pastry making.
The young people participating in the program are treated just like ordinary employees. They receive full payment for their labor in the restaurant, and they are expected to show the same commitment expected from ordinary employees. At the same time, they are guided with sensitivity and understanding, to help them acquire the tools to succeed.
Follow-up research tracking the program’s graduates, carried out in March 2008 by Dr. Aharon York of Bar-Ilan University, indicates significant improvement in participants’ circumstances as a result of the training they received at Liliyot. Most of them became independent useful citizens, and half of them even succeeded in finding placement in the leading restaurants on Israel’s culinary map.