We began our Culinary Training program five years ago at no cost to students. Since then, it has provided training for over 251 people and each one of those graduates have gone on to a career in the food industry. Our students and graduates inspire us daily.
As a student in Second Harvest Food Bank’s Culinary Training Program, Johnny spent 16 weeks learning a variety of cooking techniques, safe food handling skills and how to prepare cuisine from around the world. He also found the support and encouragement he needed from chef instructors and staff. Read story
Jorge was forced to leave his home in Venezuela. When he moved here, he knew little English and worked odd jobs. Learn more about his journey and what skills have helped him the most in his new job. Read story
A single mother with a 16-month-old daughter, Marie was juggling work as a prep cook with the stress of a young child when a friend told her about the Culinary Trainin Program at Second Harvest. Now working toward a career, and not just a job, Marie's life is changing for the better. Read story
A few years ago, Shaneka saw her life go up in smoke, literally. After fleeing an abusive relationship, finding herself living in her car with her kids, and watching that car burst into flames, she was losing hope. But thanks to an opportunity to join the Culinary Trainin Program opened up, Shaneka's life changed for the better. Read story
Antonio is passionate about two things: cooking and children. Thanks to the guidance of past student, Chef Kenneth Neal, Antonio sought out an opportunity to make a better life for his kids and his future. Read story
A practicing lawyer in Venezula, when Johima moved to Orlando to be closer to her children, she found herself having to start over from scratch. Thanks to an internet search for career training, Johima fortunate to come across the food bank's Culinary Training Program, and now has a new beginning. Read story
Fleeing the violence and unrest of Venezuela after her father's death, Yoleida knew the road ahead of her would be difficult. When she learned about the food bank's Culinary Training Program, she knew what her direction toward a better life would be and works hard everyday to get there. Read story
Darnell Brown has dreamed of being a chef for as long as he can remember. He comes from a big family - he is one of eight kids - and meals were a time that everyone always came together. After high school he enrolled in culinary school but had to withdraw when his mother passed away. He set his dreams aside and started a landscaping business with some of his brothers to make ends meet. Read story
Last fall, in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida launched its first bi-lingual class of its successful Culinary Training Program. Over the course of 16 weeks, the students learned the culinary and life skills training needed to transform their lives with a new career. Read story
Kevin Torres has cooked up a whole new life for himself and his family, and now he’s landed his dream job as a sauté cook at the Seasons 52 restaurant in Altamonte Springs, FL. Read story
Shandra went from a full-time job down to part-time in order to complete the program. She had to take a step back in order to move forward, and it has been worth it. Her dream to cook is now providing a better life for Shandra, her husband, James, and their four children. Read story
Michel’le Snell grew up with her grandmother and the two spent many days in the kitchen making family recipes. But when her grandmother’s house was foreclosed, Michel’le and her three daughters had to find a new place to live. With no job and no car, she spent her income tax return on two month’s rent.
Solinee Dulcio was recognized at the Top Student at last fall’s Culinary Training Program graduation. Originally from Haiti, Soline struggled with depression and unemployment before applying to the program. Today she is employed full-time at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort as a prep cook.
Miguel lost everything when Hurricane Maria devasted Puerto Rico in Fall of 2017. His story is 1 in over 140,000 Puerto Ricans who have arrived in Central Florida since the storm, but with the help of Second Harvest's Culinary Training Program, he is working toward rebuilding his life for him and his daughter.
Homeless and struggling, Theodore was looking for a second chance when he started in our 14-week Culinary Training Program. Now graduated, he has been able to turn his life around and find hope.
Katherine is just weeks away from completing Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program as part of the first Spanish-language class. In the past she has worked at a bakery, but steady work has been a challenge. Then, last fall, Hurricane Maria devastated her town in Puerto Rico.
Susan Anderson always loved cooking. When her wages stagnated, she lost her car and then her home, Susan applied to Second Harvest Food Bank's 14- week Culinary Training Program with the hope of a new beginning for her family. "I was working in retail management and food service but my career was stalled," recalls Anderson.
When Shandra started the Culinary Training Program at Second Harvest, she had no clue how much it was going to change her life for the better. She faced a lot of challenges heading in to the program, but along the way found the support and strength she needed to climb over those hurdles and flourish. Read and be inspired by Shandra's amazing story, and how she has been since leaving the program.