“What’s the most important thing you learn in the Kitchen of Champions Program?” I asked Wayne who was in the back cutting sweet potatoes while the rest of the cohort busily prepared pork ragu, garlic bread, roasted veggies and cranberry OJ for the St. Vincent de Paul’s free dining room.
One of the ways that Kitchen of Champions’ Trainees get real-world culinary practice is by preparing the meals served in the SVdP Free Dining Room. The Dining Room serves nearly 800 meals per day and the cohort makes it possible!
On today’s menu: cheeseburgers with a house-made garlic aioli sauce, fries, veggies, and a tutti-fruitti dessert.
Above Carrie prepares the garlic aioli sauce. Carrie needed new job skills and heard about Kitchen of Champions from someone who knew the program and Carrie’s passion for cooking. When asked if she felt like this was her future, she beamed: “This is it!”Busily preparing the 800 burgers being served today.Kevin, Millie and Heather taking a quick break from service, above. Millie (center) works in the food industry now and is hoping that the program will help advance her career. Heather (right) and Kevin (left) are both parents who have worked multiple jobs to support their families. When asked how he works two jobs and does the Kitchen of Champions program as a single father, Kevin said, “Women inspire me. If they can do it, I can.”
In the kitchen last week, the trainees learned how to cook artichokes tournés.
Chef Dorsey demonstrated for the cohort while reviewing everything from cooking technique, to time management, to the costs of ingredients and labor.
Chef Dorsey proudly displays the freshly picked chard (bottom left) before KOC trainee, Rodney, sautés it (below right).
The cohort has been cooking meals in the Dining Room since week one, so at this point they are pros! Today’s main dish is Chicken and Corn Chowder. Below Chef Dorsey gives the trainees in charge of the soup advice on seasoning.
The Soup Team (pictured below) explained to me that they started the soup with a Béchemel sauce, one of the five mother sauces. This simple fact connects their classroom work to the kitchen with ease.