Elizabeth's Friday Full of Fun!

It's Elizabeth again with more Friday Full of Fun! This week I met with Chef Will and one of the CJTP students, Tracy! Life under the hairnet for Chef Will is full of excitement!  The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle created the Culinary Job Training Program in 1998 and this eleven week program allows students to not only learn how to cook but also give back to the community.  The goal of CJTP is to help students obtain employment upon graduation in a food service position.  People like Chef Will and Chef Terri are dedicated to spreading their culinary knowledge to individuals in need and to give back to others.  Chef Will slices and dices his way to happiness while inspiring others to be self-sufficient and passionate about their work.  I decided to meander back to the kitchen one afternoon and see what was cooking!

What inspires you most about CJTP?

“Being able to give back is what it’s all about for me.  To share my experiences with people and give them a boost in their own careers gives more meaning to what I do”

What is your favorite thing to cook and what is your guilty pleasure food?

“I love cooking Asian inspired dishes- they are always very light with bold flavors and colors- it really puts me in a good mood.  Chocolate is my guilty pleasure food for sure, except it is hard because I am Vegan and have to substitute sometime- it’s just not the same!”

What activities do you enjoy other than cooking?

“I enjoy exercising and running.   I am also in school part-time which takes up a lot of my time, but I joke around the rest of the time, I’m a nut!”

What do you enjoy most about fighting hunger?

“Just the idea of bringing hope to someone that is hopeless makes my day worthwhile.  I don’t make the money that I used to but I have more pleasure in what I am doing here- it is much more meaningful at the end of the day.  I am able to give back and change lives- nothing compares.”

What is life like under the hairnet?

“I get to be creative!  I enjoy recovering food and not only change people’s perspectives but change someone’s day.”

What is one thing you wish more people did?

“I wish people would take less for granted and appreciate the privileges they have”

How often do you burn or cut yourself accidentally?

“Not that often anymore, maybe once a month…but I miss the days when I would because if I don’t I feel like I’m not really working…it keeps you on your toes.  But I guess it also means that since I don’t that often anymore that I have matured my cooking skills.”

What is the most relaxing thing about cooking?

“I enjoy gathering food and deciding what exactly I am going to do with it”

What is one thing that you cannot live without in the kitchen?

“Definitely a sharp knife and my spidey-sense!”

Many thanks to Chef Will and all of his hard work!  The IFFS kitchen would simply not be the same without him!  One of his students, Tracy Seegars, shared a few words with me also.

CJTP Student Tracy Seegars

What is your favorite thing about the CJTP program, Tracy?

Cooking!  I love learning different things and new techniques!”

What is your favorite thing to make?

“Biscuits and rolls from scratch.  I also enjoy making chutney.  You see biscuits in the store but it's just not the same- when you do it yourself it is an accomplishment knowing that you can!”

Do you enjoy fighting hunger?

“It makes me feel really good; I truly enjoy giving back.”

Other than CJTP, what activities do you enjoy?

“I really enjoy learning more about herbs- I used to think they were just weeds but they are so much more! They are plants you can grow, use, and eat!”

What is one thing you wished more people did?

I wish more people would give back- like the CJTP program, you can change lives when you give back.”

Do you enjoy working with the professional chefs?

“Chef Will is the best; he gives so much and is a true role model to me.  He always gives 100%; he is my idol!  I wish more people could be like him.  Chef Terri always makes sure we know what to do- she actively makes sure we understand things.  Mrs. Sharon is my support system- she provides motivation and lets us know that everything is okay!”

Tracey, Chef Will, and the other CJTP students are all valuable teachers- without them IFFS could not give cooked food to our different agencies or help out the community!  This program allows you to cook your way to greatness while helping others along the way. Watch for more Friday Full of Fun next week!