What is the FoodWorks Culinary Training Program?
The FoodWorks program offers a fresh start to low-income individuals with 12 weeks of intense culinary training. FoodWorks students learn basic cooking skills while converting fresh produce and other perishable foods into healthy meals for distribution to those in need.
Located at Maryland Food Bank headquarters, the program training takes place in classrooms and in the Charles T. Bauer Community Kitchen, a state-of-the-art culinary facility opened in 2010. Over the course of 12 weeks, Maryland Food Bank’s Executive Chef guides students through a curriculum that includes fundamental culinary techniques, nutrition, menu planning, and job-seeking skills.
FoodWorks in Baltimore City
In April 2021, we brought this life-changing, workforce-rebuilding program into Baltimore City by partnering with the American Heart Association at the UA House at Fayette community center.
Located in one of Baltimore’s most vulnerable economic communities, this sister site will allow us to expand the reach of FoodWorks — creating pathways out of hunger by addressing employment, one of the deepest root causes of hunger that continue to disproportionally affect Communities of Color.
Leading the change will be Chef Christina Wanner, graduate, FoodWorks Class 27. “Chef C” as she is known by FoodWorks students and her colleagues, brings a unique energy and passion for bringing out the best in her students to this new endeavor.
“As a Food Works student, I was given the opportunity to not only hone in on my skills, but also give back to the community, and feed hungry Marylanders,” said Chef Christina. “Now, as a culinary arts instructor for Food Works at the UA House, I’m empowering others to use their voice without using words at all – by putting their all on the plate. I remind my students and myself each day to remain positive, trust the process, and focus on the long-term goal,” she continued.
Giving That Gives Back
While FoodWorks students develop culinary job skills, the meals they prepare in training help feed hungry Marylanders. Students also get:
- 12 weeks professional training – Students learn basic cooking techniques, discipline in the workplace, and professionalism.
- ServSafe® certification – This certificate confirms to prospective employers that the graduates are experts in food safety.
- Job placement – The food bank helps find full-time employment for graduates, who earn well above the current minimum wage.
Program staff has helped FoodWorks graduates land jobs at leading venues in the region’s hotel and restaurant industry. The Maryland Food Bank also proudly hires some graduates as program mentors and kitchen staff!
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FoodWorks graduates have been hired at top kitchens such as Horseshoe Casino, Compass group, Woodberry Kitchen, SEED School, and BCPS.
I’ve been where the students are. Being a former student at another culinary institution, then getting a job at the same place I was a student at meant a lot to me. I knew that I had an obligation to build up other students and help them in their careers as well.
Executive Chef, Director of Culinary Arts