“Invite me to your restaurants!” Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said to the Kitchen of Champions graduates, as she concluded her keynote address.

quanLast Thursday, June 20th, Kitchen of Champions Cohort 35 graduated from the St. Vincent de Paul’s intensive culinary program.

graduation1The packed room enjoyed a program with speakers: Mayor Jean Quan; Culinary Services Coordinator, Nic Ming; Executive Chef Instructor, Chef Robert Dorsey; and program Alumni. Stanley Wilkes Jr. (below) from Cohort 32 who now works in the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room said the experience “changed the course of my life.”

StanWilkesJrThe real treat was hearing from the 17 graduates themselves:

“They gave me an opportunity to make a change in my life.” – Rodney Lewis

marchant“Go out there and cook with love” – Salina Mares (below)

salina“They truly rescued me” – Deserie Martin

Congratulations Cohort 35!

graudationPhotos courtesy of Jose Montoya Photography


Cooking for the Volunteer Appreciation Event

The trainees have been chopping, prepping, sauteing, and baking for the St. Vincent de Paul Volunteer Appreciation Event!

The menu prepared entirely by the Kitchen of Champions cohort was:
Seasonal Salad Bar with Fresh Accoutrements and House Made Dressings
Fresh Bread and Herb Whipped Butter
Herb Crusted Prime Rib with Horseradish Cream and Au Jus
Cavatappi Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce
Grilled Chicken with Garlic Roasted Baby Potatoes
Dessert Bar with Celebratory Cake

On Friday, the trainees were hard at work prepping. I asked the cohort what it was like to go from cooking a vegetarian meal the day before to learning how to prepare prime rib and they said “we learn something new every day!”

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Saturday, the trainees started in the kitchen at 8am to have everything ready for the big event at 4pm on April 27. Below is the crew serving the finished product:

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Kitchen of Champions Alumnae came back to help with the big event!  2013-04-28 02.26.59Dessert was my favorite part of the meal.  Crepes with homemade whipped cream and strawberries – Bon Appetit!

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Welcome Cohort 35!

It’s week two and the new cohort is already cooking food for a big event! The trainees are cooking food for the Redux Studios & Gallery opening reception “The Altered Paintings Project.”

On the menu, bread pudding – made from bread donated by The Acme Bread Company. Below Chef Dorsey demonstrates how to plate bread pudding.

IMG_0865The finished product definitely passes the taste test!

IMG_0876The kitchen is full of excitement and the trainees already seem like old friends!