16 Weeks of Culinary and Life Lessons

Our current Food Service Training Academy class is wrapping up, and students are busy preparing for what’s left before graduation on June 8.

Rich, one of our FSTA students, enrolled in the program because of his interest in cooking. He’s learned a lot about working in the kitchen, including menu planning, baking pastries and communicating with a team.

The 16-week Academy focuses on culinary and life skills equally. In training students to be ready for a food service career, instructors teach them in the kitchen and in the classroom; it is just as important to know how to Julienne vegetables, as it is to work with others.

As for 24-year-old Rich, he told us he wasn’t a social person before coming to the FSTA. That’s why life skills class is his favorite component of the program, pushing him to step out of his comfort zone.

“I know I was always given a choice where I could communicate with you, but I don’t have to, and I always chose I don’t have to,” he said. “But then this program, it’s more so, you can’t get far with that kind of mindset because you’re always going to be dealing with people.”

He admits to some run-ins with the law before entering the program. The FSTA is his chance to start over and train for a career he’ll enjoy. The Academy has even inspired him to go back to college to complete his degree – and become a pastry chef.

In addition to enhancing his communication skills, Rich has learned how to best approach challenges.

“The different personalities of all the chefs, I like that part as well because I get a taste of different chefs and how they handle different situations,” he said.

Rich is grateful for the program, and he’s going to take all he has learned to pursue a culinary career.

“This is what I like doing because I don’t find it as work,” Rich said. “I find it as more enjoyable.”