///BLOG – Culinary Student Learns Recipe to Start Over

BLOG – Culinary Student Learns Recipe to Start Over

FEBRUARY 15, 2017
Jennifer Alejos

“During my addiction, I didn’t think I was worth a lot. I didn’t think I was a good person but I’ve learned that I am a good person and I am worth love; I’m worth giving back and can give back.”

Santiago, a student in our Culinary Training Program, gives a tour of the Haven for Hope kitchen. He knows the whole room like the back of his hand. He shows the sink area where he first started a few months ago and confidently pulls the pots and pans needed to make a meal.

In just under a year, Santiago has transformed his life after volunteering and being admitted into our Culinary Training Program.

The Culinary Training Program at Haven for Hope is an intensive class experience that gives students the opportunity to be immersed in the fast-paced world of restaurant food preparation. Tasks include making 400 meals daily for children in our after-school program, Kids Café, and meals for residents at Haven for Hope.

Last May, Santiago’s situation was very different. He was facing a drug addiction and his life was tail-spinning out of control. He came to a realization that he needed to change. The first step to turning his life around was enrolling in a detox program. It was there that he was given the opportunity to volunteer at the Haven Community Kitchen.

After “paying his dues” by washing dishes at the sink station, he was noticed for his strong work ethic and was chosen to learn with the pros in the Food Bank’s Culinary Training Program. He worked alongside Chef Martha and other students in one of the most rigorous cooking courses in the state.

Now, Santiago has a whole new mindset toward life and helping others.

“During my addiction, I didn’t think I was worth a lot. I didn’t think I was a good person but I’ve learned that I am a good person and I am worth love; I’m worth giving back and can give back.”

His favorite part of his training is being able to deliver meals in-person to the children at the center. It gives him an opportunity to connect a face to the meals he’s creating with love.

Santiago is set to graduate from our Culinary Training Program this April. He has been fortunate enough to land a job in the culinary world as a cook at the DoubleTree Hotel.

The culinary training program has not only opened new doors for Santiago but it has given him the confidence needed to accomplish personal goals and put faith into himself.

“My life was plagued by a lot of fear of things I never tried. It was a lot of things I never succeeded at because of fear, but now I’m not fearful anymore,” he says.

He credits the program for helping him turn his life around and being able to give back to the community.

“A lot of the people here have come from nothing and made something of themselves. That is very inspiring to me.”

2017-05-24T15:10:14+00:00