Chef Neftalí Durán honored in Holyoke for educating, combatting food inequality

Saturday’s recipient was Neftalí Durán, a native of Oaxaca, Mexico, who came to the U.S. in 1997 and started his restaurant career in Los Angeles before moving
Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 11:45 AM EDT
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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice held an event Saturday to fundraise for future grants and scholarships.

It all took place at the Armour Yard near Holyoke Community College.

Saturday’s recipient was Neftalí Durán, a native of Oaxaca, Mexico, who came to the U.S. in 1997 and started his restaurant career in Los Angeles before moving to Massachusetts.

Durán has owned El Jardín Bakery at Nuestra Raices for 13 years, having over 25 years of experience in the food industry overall.

According to Aaron Vega of the Carlos Vega Fund, Durán currently works as a chef and a teacher with the No Kid Hungry Cooking Matters campaign, an innovative program that works to provide long-term solutions to hunger, “by teaching practical shopping and cooking skills that make the most of existing resources, even when time and money are tight.”

In addition to his work with the No Kid Hungry Cooking Matters campaign, Durán was a founding member of the I-Collective, which focuses on contributions and wisdom from indigenous people to address and educate others on food inequality.

He has also participated in Monte’s March to raise money for the Food Bank of Western MA.

Durán is also a recipient of the Salzburg Global Fellowship, established 75 years ago. Other members of the fellowship include Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Kofi Annan.

Saturday’s event had lots of music, dancing and a program that featured short presentations from previous grant recipients.