Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fighting Hunger, Feeding Hope


The mission at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, is to fight hunger in the Central Florida community and change lives. One of the innovative ways of doing this is through the Darden Foundation Community Kitchen,  a 2,000-square-foot commercial kitchen space designed as an integral part of Second Harvest’s holistic approach to fighting hunger and poverty. In this dynamic space, the food bank offers:
  • A 12-week culinary program focused on food service-based technical, life and employ ability skills training for adults,
  • In-house full-service catering with affordable event space available for your next event, meeting or seminar,
  • Disaster relief food partnerships with the state and community organizations.
But, that’s not all. To engage the community throughout the year, Second Harvest offer Chef’s Table Dinners, nutrition classes, and cooking lessons. Also, working closely with local growers and farmers, the Community Kitchen staff regularly gathers and transforms surplus produce. The donated product is cooked, flash frozen, and ready to nourish those in need.

Dawn Viola, Executive Chef and Kitchen Director, was kind enough to let me sketch the kitchen. I arrived in the afternoon and the staff was busy cleaning up. I had a hard time deciding where to sketch without getting in the way. Chef Carmen Ramiz began working with two interns, Judy Alexis and Jerusha Philippe. They began preparing the ingredients for what I believe would become biscuits. There was some eggs, an orange and plenty of butter and flour. Every ingredient had to be accurately measured. Chef Carmen checked and double checked the progress. She was patient and precise, a good teacher. My sketch was done before the mix went in the state of the art ovens.

The Second Harvest Culinary Training Program provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry. The culinary students offer a well-rounded set of skills to any food industry establishment. After completing the 12-week culinary program, students are prepared for an entry-level culinary position, with the necessary life skills to survive in this fast-paced industry.

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