Garrick Knight knows just how lucky he is. College wasn’t the right path for him and he was having a hard time landing a job. At a local job fair, he stumbled across a flyer for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Culinary Job Training Program.
“I wouldn’t have been able to go into the culinary field right after school and I tried college but it didn’t work out so well,” says Garrick. “After taking the program, it was much easier to get a job. In the morning we’d prep and cook. In the afternoon, it was class time to learn life and job skills.”
The Culinary Job Training Program is an 11 week hands-on course that trains unemployed or underemployed adults like Garrick for meaningful careers in food service. It focuses on both culinary and job skills to prepare them in their careers.
“The program taught me how to work in a kitchen but also how to work with others,” Garrick explains.
After graduating from the program, Garrick got a job as a prep cook at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Cary, N.C. He has worked in the kitchen there for four years and has seen his duties grow from the most basic of prep work to putting together the marinade for his favorite Kentucky Rib Roast.
“I love everything that I do here,” says Garrick. “My role has grown and I’ve been prepared for most everything because of the program…everything except prepping crepes for brunch!”
Prep-cook Garrick Knight, 27 of Cary, N.C., portions marinaded and boiled shrimp into small bags for salads at Local 32 in Cary, N.C. on Thursday, December 15, 2016. Knight is a graduate of the Inter-faith Food Shuttle’s culinary school. (Photo by Sara D. Davis)
Lucky 32 General Manager Shane Garrity has been instrumental in creating a strong partnership between the restaurant and the Food Shuttle and believes that the benefit is mutual.
“You get involved because you want to help the graduates find a positive work environment where they can utilize the skills they have learned in the program and contribute to Lucky 32’s mission,” says Shane. “The by-product you don’t anticipate is the positive effect the graduates have on our culture, teamwork, and our humility.”
Garrick steadily works his prep list every morning in time for the lunch rush but is not done seeking even more opportunity. “One day, I’d like to work sauté,” he says. “That seems like the most fun.”