My name is Tearah Chesnut and I attended the CYAP back in 2010. When I first came across this program I didn’t know what I was getting into. I am happy to say that I did complete it and went on to starting classes as a full time student at Kingsborough just a few months later. I continued on with Culinary Arts up until I got pregnant in 2012. I was just about a few credits shy, but never continued. Since then I’ve worked in a few kitchens, but never really knew if that’s where I wanted to be. I was laid off recently from a charter school working as a cafeteria supervisor. From there I really didn’t want to go back into a kitchen, let alone find another job.
A few weeks after the layoff I decided to start my own business making soap! When people ask me what made me want to start making soap I could never really find an answer. When I think about it now, looking back, while I was in the kitchen, I always wondered how ingredients can be used in other ways (other than eating them). That’s when I started researching the benefits of fruits on your skin and other various foods in the kitchen.
November and December have been thrilling months for NRC students: Workforce 1 in-house mock interviews, workshops for enrollment into Kingsborough (via the CAT: the CUNY Assessment Test), CHW students leading Prevention Workshops to CEWD’s Project Rise students, and CA students assisting with Chefs for Impact, NRC students have been busy! With our support, NRC students have persisted through the program and really shown how they can shine.
CEWD’s Executive Director, Babette Audant, just released findings from her study: Stackable credentials and career/college pathways in culinary arts at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY
The study “compared employment and education opportunities for students enrolled in short-term training to those of students enrolled in an associate degree program. Its goal was to explore gaps between employer demand for trained workers and long-term investments in education. The study also aimed to suggest ways in which we can meaningfully support students in their pursuit of degrees, even as they seek employment in high-growth sector for which education, experience, and job titles are often an imprecise match.”
KCC Urban Farm was just awarded a grant from Ample Table for Everyone, a non-profit that works to “mitigate food insecurity in the five boroughs of New York City by addressing the key causes: lack of time, lack of money, inaccessibility to nutritious food, and unfamiliarity with a variety of healthy ingredients, cooking methods and recipes.”
Our program, Bringing it Home, will teach participants basic cooking skills using both familiar and unfamiliar produce. BiH will empower everyone with the skills and confidence to cook at home for themselves and their families.
Visit Bringing it Home on the blog to find out more about the program including the schedule of workshops and recipes that have been created by students and staff.
On July 20th, Kingsborough’s Northeast Resiliency ConsortiumCulinary Arts program hosted an employer event where our partners from Workforce1, a program of NYC’s Department of Small Business Services that connects qualified candidates to job opportunities in NYC, and a manager from a local Chipotle restaurant, came to KCC to talk about jobs in NYC’s fast-paced culinary industry. Additionally, participants were invited to directly apply to food service positions available at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The highlight of the event was a past NRC Culinary Arts participant who shared his experience in the program and how it impacted both his employment and personal life.
If you’ve read about our programs and you’re interested, good news! We have just finalized application sessions for Fall 2015 starting in July and going through August. Click here for more details. If you’re interested but would like to have more information, please contact us at 718.368.4637.
Do you watch the widely popular cooking competiting, Master Chef? If you’re watching this season, take special note of Shelly Flash. In 2013 she enrolled in our very own Northeast Resiliency Consortium under the Culinary Arts training program. Shelly completed the program and, with 9 banked college credits, immediately enrolled in KCC’s Culinary Arts program.
From a recent KCC press release, Chef Thomas Smyth, Director of KCC’s Culinary Arts program, noted that Shelly was “extremely eager to get started learning. She has a wonderfully effervescent spirit and a unique, undeveloped talent for cooking, which serves her well as a MasterChef contestant. We’re proud of her, and are rooting for her all the way.”
If you’re interested in building or refining your culinary experience, check out KCC’s NRC training program. Participants receive:
Full suite of employment readiness services
Job placement assistance and job retention services
College enrollment assistance
The opportunity to bank college credits
Personal supportive services
We have a few Application Sessions remaining for this summer’s cohort. Sign up to find out more about our exciting program!
If you’ve read any of our recent posts about KCC Urban Farm, you’ve probably seen photos of one of our most dedicated and energetic student aides: Maya Stansberry. Before the holidays I sat down with Maya to talk about her work on the farm and her future plans in urban agriculture.
What is your interest in urban farming and where did it come from?
Growing up, gardening was a pastime that my mother and relatives eagerly shared, and something that I learned to appreciate as well as enjoy. While my family has no professional/educational background with gardening, we always had gardens or small, indoor greenhouses going on somewhere.As a result, and I feel like a hippie saying this, I love being outside and connecting with the earth. There’s something exciting about putting something in the earth and getting something else back.
I wouldn’t say that my interest in urban farming comes from growing up in Baltimore, but more comes from growing up in a family with a southern/country heritage where gardening/farming incidentally runs in the family (my fraternal grandfather, who grew up on a farm, has his own vegetable garden which I helped tend to in my early teens; my maternal grandmother has a vegetable garden at her church; my mom encouraged my siblings and I to attempt to grow things, etc.).