The Teaching Kitchen program is a hands-on culinary job-training program covering numerous topics outlined below. Trainees progress through a series of 80 competencies including culinary, job, and life skills, with a weekly opportunity to demonstrate progress on competencies gained. Trainees are paid a minimum wage for all hours of course participation (up to 28 hours per week assuming full participation).
Core Culinary Concepts
The following units include demonstration of techniques, food preparation, cooking and baking methods; understanding the roles of ingredients, seasoning, tasting; identification of foods, vocabulary and use of ingredients in recipes or formulas. Alongside of culinary skills, teamwork and working cleanly and efficiently in the kitchen are emphasized throughout all core culinary units:
Cooking Terms/Techniques, Kitchen Equipment/Utensil Identification, Cooking Measures, Knife Skills, Kitchen Math, Basic Baking, Product Identification: Cheese, fruits, vegetables, dairy, herbs/spices, pasta, rice, beans, proteins.
Servsafe: Using both classroom and hands-on teaching, all trainees learn about food safety concepts, culminating in certification for the Servsafe Food Handler and Servsafe Allergy Awareness, both nationally recognized credentials.
Work Based Learning: Every trainee completes a 150-hour hands-on internship in the high volume production kitchen at Community Servings. Trainees work under the guidance of the Executive Chef and Cooks to support the daily preparation and packaging of 3,000+ scratch-made, medically tailored meals.
Job Readiness and Life Skills: Weekly classes prepare trainees for employment upon graduation. Topics include preparation of a resume and references, and mock interviews. Classes also include the life skills that support successful employment including taking charge of automatic thinking and reactions, and taking actions consistent with goals, dreams, and values.
Nutrition Classes: Led by skilled nutritionists and dietitians on staff at Community Servings, trainees learn about recommended daily servings, healthy diets, and nutrients such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
Digital Literacy: During weeks 7 through 12 of the Teaching Kitchen program, all trainees participate in a one-hour daily computer class and job club. Individual training and support are provided to those who would like assistance in how to establish and maintain an email account, submit an online job application, create a job seeker profile online, etc.
Financial Empowerment: In partnership with the Family Prosperity Services staff at JPNDC, all trainees participate in financial literacy training including basic banking, understanding credit, and following a budget. Each trainee is provide with one on one financial empowerment coaching as a follow up to the group training offered.