Culinary course gives homeless & jobless a start FWD

Tom Boland (
Sat, 25 Dec 1999 22:35:24 -0800 (PST)$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302
FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Dec 23, 1999 01:12


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Forget burger and fries. The epicurean
fare typical of this culinary course is far more sophisticated, and
the expectations of its students, very high.

Five students will graduate today from Culinary Cornerstones, a
free, 12-week career development program aimed at the unemployed,
the underemployed and the homeless.

The students, the program's first graduates, are either living
with relatives or in transitional housing.

``We wanted a program that would feed the total person _ mind,
body and soul,'' said Jane Tally, executive director, ``and the
outcome was this training program.''

The curriculum is similar to that of a traditional culinary
school and is the only career development program endorsed by the
Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association.

The training is intensive, said Mike Osadchey, a student who has
landed a job with a major restaurant chain.

``The program was excellent and covered a lot of ground in a
short amount of time. Now we are ready to be employed, because we
all understand the basics and have the necessary techniques,''
Osadchey said.

Students learned to prepare fine foods _ no burgers or fries.
The graduation menu consisted of bourbon roast turkey, roast leg of
venison and fried shrimp diaoble.

All the graduating students have jobs lined up and have received
certification from the National Restaurant Association as well as a
licensed nutritionist.

Student Ricky Lewis said the program helped get his life back on

He saw a notice about the program while dining at the Kansas
City Community Kitchen one day, and decided to check it out.

``I am glad I did because I was feeling down and this program
inspired me,'' he said.

Besides learning culinary skills, the students are taught life
skills, said Bob Brassard, program director and a certified
executive chef.

``Getting a job is not good enough,'' Brassard said. ``The
students need to have a balance in their professional and private
lives. We teach them stress management, time management and how to
deal with conflicts. The first 12 weeks of their new jobs will be
like an internship period and we will also mentor the students for
two years after graduation.''

While in the program, the students receive a $25 per week
stipend and tokens for transportation.

``All we ask is for them to be drug- and alcohol-free and come
to class every day,'' Brassard said. ``And we do conduct random
drug and alcohol tests during the program. Their payment to us is
their daily effort.''

AP-CS-12-23-99 0212EST
Received  Id AP99357DA1DB634 on Dec 23 1999 07:24


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