For the past 12 weeks I’ve attended a culinary boot camp offered by the Greater Chicago’s Food Depository. The name of the program is Chicago’s Community Kitchens. A job training program, it prepares individuals to enter the food industry at the entry level within 12 weeks of training and provides a 2 week internship at a participating food industry employer. Professional knife skills, exposure to and daily cooking on commercial equipment, recipe scaling, sanitation, kitchen safety and life skills are all taught within 14 weeks.
A friend sent me a flyer describing the the program and the details of how to apply. Initially I was intimidated by the physical demands (one must have the ability to stay on one’s feet for 8 hours with only a 30 minute break). I am a grandmother of 7 after all. The oldest 19 and the youngest not yet 2. So without giving my age, you can see why I was worried. But I decided I needed my sanitation license to utilize commercial kitchen space to grow my food business and I needed to overcome my inexperience in utilizing professional, commercial-sized equipment.
My time at Chicago’s Community Kitchens has been invaluable. The dedicated staff and chefs as well as the friends I’ve made through this program will always be with me. I’m leaving with my ServSafe Managers Certification, new skills, techniques and knowledge all at no cost. My payment and any participant’s is the willingness to show up everyday on time, work hard, have a positive attitude and accept criticism without getting angry or becoming discouraged.
Thank you Chicago Community Kitchens and Chicago Greater Food Depository for providing the opportunity to achieve a dream I first attempted 21 years ago.