Culinary Training Program
Food is transformational.
“The day I was introduced to Second Harvest Food Bank and its Culinary Training Program was one of the greatest days of my life,” recalls Kenny Neal. He had been unemployed for two years, working odd jobs to keep food on the table for his family. It was time to make a change.
For 16 weeks, Kenny soaked up the knowledge and experiences offered at Second Harvest. The program provides hands-on culinary training and life skills education at no cost to qualified, at-risk, and economically disadvantaged adults. These lessons help graduates pursue new and sustainable careers in the food service industry.
“You can’t give up. No matter how hard it is, you have to keep fighting because people depend on you,” Kenny told himself day after day.
Graduation was just the beginning for Kenny. He went to work in the kitchen of a local country club, honing the skills he had learned in the program. His spirit of determination led him to pursue and achieve his ultimate dream of owning and running his own business.
Today, Chef Kenny runs Kolaiah’s Catering, a full-service catering company in Orlando. He serves large-scale events, prepares smaller meals as a private chef, and mentors up-and-coming cooks. Most importantly, he is proud to be an example for his family.
Thanks to you, Kenny has a foundation for a successful future.
About the Program
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 16-week program is provided at no charge. Students attend classes Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM, in person at the Food Bank.
To date, 425 students have graduated from the program.
Interested in applying?
To apply for the Culinary Training Program, students must meet the eligibility requirements and complete the application.
See what our students are saying.
Your support of the Culinary Training Program truly changes lives.
“Whenever I am put into a new situation, I think back to my time at Second Harvest. They always challenged me to do more, to try new things. Today I know that I can do anything I set my mind to.”
“My grandma gave me a passion for cooking, but now I understand the craft behind it. The moment I heard about the program it felt like hope.”
“The biggest lesson I learned in the Culinary Training Program is to be coachable, to take feedback and look for opportunities to improve, in the kitchen and in life.”
“I was raised by my grandmother and became her caretaker for the last several years. Now I am turning back the clock, going to school, and making my life better for myself.”
“From the moment I walked in the door at Second Harvest, I felt the positivity and knew this is where I belonged. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. It’s making a difference in my life and I appreciate you.”
“It may seem small, but to me, this was a big deal. And it’s not just one life – my life – that changed. It’s my whole family. Thank you.”