A tour of the first vocational school in Lebanon with Mohamad Hachwi, CEO of BanoPuratos Group

A tour of the first vocational school in Lebanon with Mohamad Hachwi, CEO of BanoPuratos Group

Forging new career paths for underprivileged youngsters, Mohamad Hachwi, CEO of BanoPuratos Group, tells us how he partnered with Puratos Bakery School Foundation to open Issam Hachwi Bakery School.

How did the project to open Issam Hachwi Bakery School come about?
It all began when my father passed away, last May. We wanted a project that would keep his memory and legacy alive, and that is how we decided to opening the Issam Hachwi Bakery School. BanoPuratos has already established this CSR support system, the Bakery School Foundation, to help local communities in each country. Over the past few years, the Bakery School Foundation opened several schools in countries including India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Romania, USA and the Philippines.

What can you tell us about the launch of the bakery school?
The inauguration was attended by BanoPuratos, Puratos executives and local representatives: Mohamad Hachwi, CEO of BanoPuratos Group; Ingrid Baty, chairman of the Bakery School Foundation; Dima Saleh, director of Issam Hachwi Bakery School; and Nader Sabra representative of the General Directorate of Vocational and Technical Education.
My family built the school and BanoPuratos is providing the educational support.

What’s your goal?
Our goal is to nurture the career paths of underprivileged youngsters by training them to become future bakers. The program aims to introduce students to the world of bakery, pastry, chocolate and ice cream, with hopes of creating careers in the industry.
The school brings hope, provides much-needed financial support to students and their families, and it creates a skilled pool of labor that benefits the whole community.

What curriculum does the school follow?
The program provides students with hands-on experience. We conduct work sessions to show real-world applications of what is taught at school. Students also learn the fundamentals of baking, including pastry and chocolate-making, as well as ice cream, focusing on practical and artisan skills.

How will the NGO Bakery School Foundation help Lebanese youngsters carve out new culinary paths?
A total of 25 students were chosen to start with, and at the end of the two-year program, each student will be awarded a degree certified by the Lebanese Ministry of Vocational and Technical Education. They will then be able to become part of the region’s baking industry.

What are your ambitions for the Issam Hachwi Bakery School?
The Issam Hachwi Bakery School joins the ranks of other international schools to raise standards in the field of baking. We want our graduates to shine in everything they do.


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Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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