by Cameron Probert | Tri-City Herald

From the Tri-City Herald [*]

The Jacques Pépin Foundation is giving $10,000 to support a Tri-Cities program aimed at training people to work in a kitchen. Columbia Industries’ Opportunity Kitchen is the beneficiary of a grant from the chef’s foundation, which supports free culinary and life skills training. Pépin has authored more than 30 cookbooks, written for the New York Times and Food & Wine, and stared in several TV cooking shows in his decades-long career. He and his family formed the foundation in 2016 as a way of fostering a love of cooking and teaching more people to cook. The $10,000 donation will pay for 10 more students to go through the program, which provides 12 weeks of training alongside an executive chef. Opportunity Kitchen is a no-cost program that is empowering individuals with barriers to employment and other life challenges to be the best version of themselves,” said Mike Novakovich, the Columbia Industries CEO and president. The program started in 2019 is aimed at helping people who would normally have trouble finding work. The participants may have intellectual or physical disabilities, mental illness or a history of domestic violence, substance abuse and homelessness. Along with learning about food services, hospitality and catering work, the program provides a variety of life skills classes designed to help them overcome obstacles and gain confidence.”
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