Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://specialtyfoodmagazine.epubxp.com/i/950112

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Page 64 of 91

giving back Today, participants in its training programs are not only educated in the culinary arts, but get practical work experience in FareStart's restaurants, cafes, and catering services, which provide meals to social services, shelters, and schools. Megan Karch, CEO of FareStart, joined the company 18 years ago, and has been operating the adult and youth programs to serve homeless individuals. "We provide outreach in the community, so people are aware of us. They also hear about us through graduates and other students in the program," she says. After an informational session, those who qualify can enter, at no cost, as soon as the following week. After enrollment, FareStart offers students social services, such as housing and mental health support. After four months of applied training, FareStart will help them get a job in the culinary field, from front of house and manage- ment, to prep cooks, chefs, sous chefs, and on up the ladder. The First Step Is the Next Step FareStart's intake process for new students is simple. "We ask them about their background, what they want to get out of the program, and determine their eligibility in terms of income," says Karch. "To come in, you have to be experiencing homelessness or poverty [by federal standards]. We aren't designed for people who just want to learn the culinary industry." Students are assessed and can go a variety of ways: to one of two youth culinary programs, or to the Adult Culinary Program or the Foodservice Apprentice Program. The two youth programs, one in partnership with Seattle Public Schools—the Youth Barista Program—caters to ages 16 to 21. The other, in partnership with a non-profit called Youth Care, is for those ages 16 to 24. The adult program is for those 18 years and older and the apprentice program is for adults with foodservice experience. "The program they go into depends on their maturity level and what their needs are," says Karch. "In our adult program, the average age is about 38, and many times what they're dealing with is different than an 18-year-old who has been on the street for a couple of years. They look at things differently. They might have similar struggles like housing or mental health or addiction, but where they are in terms of understanding, it's different." To date, FareStart has seen about 7,000 individuals come through its program. After graduation, FareStart tracks job place- ment and hourly wage, and does so for six months to ensure reten- tion. The goal, says Karch, is to track graduates for up to two years after graduation. Off the Streets and Into the Kitchen The curriculum offered at FareStart is comprehensive, says Karch. The entry level course is designed to teach the basics, from kitchen safety and sanitation, to knife skills and working on a line. The course covers kitchen terminology, use of equipment, how to follow recipes, and basic culinary training. Classes are taught by professional chefs from large and small restaurants, corporate dining, and hotels, and 10 percent of FareStart educators have graduated from the program. "The best teachers are the ones who have been there," says Karch. If students are qualified to go the apprenticeship route, they can jump into training courses on front-of-house operations as well as management training to provide an advanced track in the kitchen. "The most important parts of both curriculums are life skills and career development," says Karch, who notes that trainees learn the importance of showing up on time, meeting commitments, han- dling stress, and getting along with others. The on-the-job, applied training provided to the students is what makes these skills really stick. FareStart puts students in the restaurant kitchens that it runs. Each is a 501c3 establishment, with venues ranging from full service to fast casual, to corporate dining settings and catering services. FareStart also provides meals to 16 shelters throughout the Seattle region and 30 different schools with children from low-income families. Maslow, a full-service restau- rant, and Rise, a casual cafe, are just a couple of the businesses that FareStart's students help operate. After four months of applied training, FareStart will help them get a job in the culinary field, from front of house and management, to prep cooks, chefs, sous chefs, and on up the ladder. 62 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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