Achieving a Dream

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.

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16 thoughts on “Achieving a Dream

  1. Congratulations, Denise!!! You already had a great “foodie” sense and cooking skills to make things delicious and beautiful. Now you’ve taken another step up the culinary ladder. Kudos! ❤️

    1. Thanks you Cheryl for always being a source of encouragement and affirmation.

  2. Oh wow, Denise! That sounds a wonderful experience! I shall look into doing the same here in Maryland. I have had the same reservations about cooking school and this is encouraging. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I am absolutely delighted!

  3. Yes that is such great news. Congratulations. Really made me happy to hear about your going for it and having such success. Love you, Patricia

    1. Thanks Patricia. Remember that little cafe you used to buy food from on Main St? I think the lady was from Nepal or somewhere in that part of the world. My goal is to have a little place like that. Small, intimate and run at my pace.

  4. Denise,
    Congratulations on achieving yet another victory /accomplishment in your life. You are one of the most fearless women I know!! I admire the strength and courage you demonstrate as you take on risks, embrace new challenges and put your self on the line to realize your dreams and goals.
    You humble and inspire me. I’m proud to be your sister/friend.

    Rhonda

    1. Thank you Rhonda. I’m half way thru my internship, thus the delay in my reply. You have contributed to my growth in fearlessness. Thank you sister/friend.

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