"I knew the life I wanted was waiting for me. I just had to go out and get it."
Ben (on the far right) poses with his fellow graduates of the Foodservice Apprenticeship Program.
Ben spent the last few years as a kitchen manager at a local charity. He had learned his cooking skills on the job and was helping create more than 300 meals a day. He had a knack for numbers and preparation of large, batch style meals and when he heard about the FareStart Foodservice Apprenticeship Program, he knew that was the next step he wanted to take.
He was struggling with recovery and felt that he had to make a definitive move.
“Before this apprentice program, I just felt like life was on hold,” he said. “I knew the life I wanted was waiting for me. I just had to go out and get it. FareStart is encouraging, uplifting and supportive. Everyone here wants you to succeed.”
The Foodservice Apprenticeship Program gives people with food experience and who have been experiencing significant challenges, the chance to skill up and move towards better wages and opportunities.
“This training at FareStart is the best of both worlds,” he said. “I’m specializing as a corporate dining lead, but in this program, you learn skills from barista to full-service restaurant cooking.”
Ben learned about executive dining, ordering, rotating food, learning recipes and skills in the front of the house like serving and hosting.
“I love that everything we make here is house-made,” he said. “I’ve learned about braised beef, grilled tofu, marinated chicken, masala and cream sauces all while maintaining the highest standards and professionalism in the kitchen.”
Ben already has plans for what he wants to do after he graduates.
“I’d like to work for a large company that supports fine dining,” he said. “Corporate dining with a structure, set schedules and a clear path for advancement. I’ve learned that I’m more capable than I thought before and I work well with people. I’m very much looking forward now. I’ve recharged myself.”