by Stefanie Mael and Marissa Sheldon
Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series
What They Do: Allie’s Place Center for Culinary Education & Employment is a training center in New York City that prepares adults for employment in the food industry, including commercial and institutional kitchens, restaurants, cafes, and cafeterias. While the Center primarily enrolls individuals living in Homes for the Homeless (HFH) family residences (shelters) and those living in the Soundview community of the Bronx, students from across New York City can apply. Students must be 18 or older, authorized to work in the United States, vaccinated against COVID-19, and able to understand and communicate in English. All trainings are free for those who qualify.
Currently there are two certificate-level programs: culinary essentials and barista basics. Graduates (those who have completed certificate-level programs) are also able to take free continuing education programs to advance their skill set for up to one year post-graduation. Topics are offered on a rotating basis and include trainings in making bread, pasta, vegetarian cuisine, and international cuisine.
The Center for Culinary Education & Employment also helps graduates find employment by covering the cost of the NYC Food Protection Certificate as well as assisting in resume writing and providing job referrals for up to one year post-graduation.
How They Do It: Interested individuals must fill out an application online and attend an Open House session to complete the application process. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Once the applicant completes all necessary paperwork and is accepted into the program, they can register for an upcoming training session.
The training kitchen is located at Allie’s Place family residence, an HFH shelter.
Culinary Essentials is a five-day training that covers culinary techniques, kitchen equipment, regional flavors and cuisines, and food safety. After completing Culinary Essentials, students receive help with resumes and job placements as well as the textbook used during training, which will serve as a resource as they embark on their culinary journey. Graduates who earn their Food Protection Certificate receive a new chef’s knife kit.
Barista Basics is a three-day training that teaches students how to take coffee orders, prepare drinks, and serve customers at a pop-up coffee shop, in addition to some pastry basics.
Courses are taught by chef instructors who have graduated from culinary school, have years of real-world experience in the food and hospitality industries, and who love to cook and teach.
Mission: To provide individuals with the education and experience necessary to secure a job or advance in their job in the food industry
Latest project/campaign: In the fall of 2023, the Center will be expanding its Culinary Essentials program to add additional coursework in pastry arts in order to make graduates even more competitive in the workplace.
Major Funding: Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) Foundation and other private donations
Annual Budget: N/A
Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: The Center utilizes its private on-site garden to supplement ingredients in the cooking labs. Residents of Allie’s Place family residence and enrolled students from the community also access freshly harvested produce and herbs during “farmer’s markets” on-site at Allie’s Place. Outreach events in the community and the shelter include cooking demonstrations and food nutrition training—from cooking labs on preparing foods for diabetics to cooking on a budget to farm-to-table meals.
1600 Randall Avenue
Bronx, NY 10473
Core Programs: Culinary training
Number of staff: 8 including student interns
Number of volunteers: 0
Areas served: Soundview, Bronx
Year Started: 2020
Director: Gabriel Rodriguez