Jacques on FareStart: “We’re addressing people who have been a bit maligned by life. Cooking is [a way] to give a lot of pleasure to people. So you give some of yourself as well … It can redeem you in many ways.”
Jacques Pepin was in Seattle, celebrating his new partnership with the FareStart organization. There were many luminaries on-hand for the deluxe fundraising event.
FareStart is a non-profit focusing on helping Seattle’s homeless and disadvantaged residents prepare for entry-level restaurant industry jobs. The organization has even won a James Beard award.
“In response to the current shortage of cooks and the growing income gap, FareStart’s new apprenticeship program goes beyond [focusing on entry-level positions], preparing students to step into more advanced kitchen roles. To help get them there, Pépin and his charitable foundation will collaborate and consult on the curriculum, drawing upon his unparalleled knowledge of culinary technique.”
Pepin also talked about how much the restaurant industry and the roles of chefs and cooks has changed over the years:
When Pépin was cooking for heads of state in Paris, the position was “very, very low on the social scale,” he says. “If anyone came to see you in the kitchen, it was to yell at you that something went wrong!” he laughs. He came to the United States 55 years ago, planning for a yearlong sojourn, but, he says, “I stayed because of the spirit of America” — the spirit of equality, of classes less stratified, more mobility. He found work at the esteemed New York restaurant Le Pavillon, where the chef said to him, “Call me Pierre.” Pépin still marvels at it: “Wow. In France, you didn’t do that.”
Related: Amazon and nonprofit FareStart team up to launch job training through five new restaurants in Seattle
“The e-commerce giant announced it was bringing five new eateries to the neighborhood, but this time the company is focusing on people outside of the company. In a partnership with the nonprofit FareStart, Amazon is donating more than 25,000 square feet of retail space and equipment to launch a foodservice apprenticeship program.
FareStart focuses on shifting people out of poverty and homelessness through job training and employment placement. With this latest venture, the organization is working to shift low-income foodservice employees into higher-paying jobs in the restaurant industry.
Amazon’s donation will go toward the creation of a full-service restaurant, three fast-casual eateries and a coffee shop in South Lake Union. The restaurants will be operated by FareStart, which will use Amazon’s donation to train workers as line cooks, line leads, sous chefs, supervisors and managers.”