Free culinary program trains future chefs while feeding the community

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Burlington’s Feeding Chittenden provides hot meals to people in need every weekday. The food is made by up-and-coming cooks who join their free culinary program.

Feeding Chittenden’s Community Kitchen Academy not only gives culinary students a free education, but it also gives people an opportunity to cook food for people who desperately need it.

Students are busy at work boxing up meals for hungry community members.

“This week alone, we’ve packaged maybe over 800 meals for the community. And a lot of the stuff that went out today was stuff that we’ve made as students, so it feels really good,” said Sarah Wright, a student at the Community Kitchen Academy.

The free culinary program gives income-eligible students who are unemployed or underemployed a $10,000 kitchen education for free.

“I got laid off so I kind of did some job interviews and found out I realized that I didn’t have enough experience in the culinary world,” said Rebecca Remington, a Community Kitchen Academy student.

Chef Jon Barzensky runs the program. He says he took the job to help get more people into the industry. The nine-week program teaches culinary skills, and even includes resume and job placement help.

“Gives them a leg up so that when they go into a job, they feel more confident and knowing what’s right and wrong, and what foods should be held and cooked properly. So, it’s really a big deal,” Barzensky said.