Our new paid Apprenticeship Program is underway at Project Feast! After establishing the Commercial Kitchen Basics Training Program last February, we have installed another way for our students to hone in on their comprehensive food industry skills such as cooking and budgeting. Our Apprenticeship Program enables our students to have a part-time job opportunity and continued mentorship by our chef instructor, Chef Daniel “Buck” James, and the Project Feast team.
Currently, we have two apprentices in our program, Taghreed Ibrahim and LemLem Kidane. Working in this program requires that in addition to mastering the techniques taught in the six week course, apprentices must actively participate in recipe testing, menu development, catering, and event prep/planning. The apprentices are currently gaining food service experience by staffing the Duwamish Curve Café, a deli service managed by Project Feast out of Tukwila Community Center. Both show incredible drive to better their skills in a commercial kitchen setting and are definitely capable of realizing their dreams of eventually working in a restaurant or starting their own business.
The Apprenticeship Program at Project Feast requires students have the desire to be the best they can be in the kitchen. However, LemLem’s and Tahgreed’s motives for pursuing this program offered by Project Feast vary. For example, when asked why they wanted to spend five months learning the tools-of-the-trade with Chef Buck, Tahgreed said she “wished to start her own bakery soon, and if [she] couldn’t do that, she would like to work in a commercial bakery.” LemLem, who is Eritrean, expressed a desire to return to her East African roots and work at an Eritrean restaurant in the area. Both truly enjoy being a part of this program, and one can almost always find them discussing what they have learned and what they’ll be working on next with Chef Buck after they’ve wrapped up their work in the kitchen for the day.
Both say that being able to work with Chef Buck allows them to learn “so much” about working in a kitchen. As mentioned above, every Tuesday and Thursday Project Feast manages the Duwamish Curve Café, which is open to the public at Tukwila Community Center. Anyone is welcome, and everyone leaves full and happy. The challenging work in the deli, according to Taghreed, is “made fun by [Chef Buck] allowing us to have input in what gets put on the menu.” In most commercial kitchens, the menu does not change often, but here at Project Feast, every worker’s contribution is appreciated.
So far, the Apprenticeship Program has proved to be a success and we hope to add more positions within the next year. With talented people like LemLem and Taghreed being a part of this program, we cannot wait to see where the program and its students will go next!
- Rishi Paramesh
Project Feast Intern