Combating Hunger, Creating Opportunity

DC Central Kitchen is America's leader in reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise.
Facebook Twitter Pinterist Flickr Vimeo

DC Central Kitchen

Culinary Job Training Program

What is the Culinary Job Training Program?
Solving the immediate problem of hunger is only fighting half of the battle. That’s why, in addition to the food recovery and distribution program, DCCK addresses the root causes of hunger and unemployment with its Culinary Job Training program. The goal of the program is to prepare unemployed, underemployed, previously incarcerated persons, and homeless adults for careers in the food service industry. Since its inception, the Culinary Job Training Program has changed the lives of over 1,000 men and women.

Application and Curriculum
DC Central Kitchen’s Job Training program serves as the model for many job training programs around the country. The curriculum and trainee materials below are available for your use and reference.

CJT Enrollment Process Info
Class Flyer (Updated for Summer 2014)
Program Eligibility (Updated for 2014)
Program Application
Community Agency Referral

Ways to Get Involved
Whether it’s volunteering as a chef, providing internship experiences, or hiring our students, there are many ways you can get involved. Learn more here.

Program Curriculum & Details
The 14-week Culinary Curriculum covers all facets of work in a professional kitchen. The program includes “hands-on” training instructed by an ACF Culinary Coordinator. Local chefs also volunteer once a week to teach specific skills that include:


In addition, all graduates complete the ServSafe Food Protection Manager’s Certification Course, the nationally recognized course from the National Restaurant Association’s Educational Foundation.

25 students are enrolled in each class cycle. Participants attend classes Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students receive a weekly transportation stipend.

The Workforce Development Coordinator teaches the importance of job-readiness skills such as punctuality, resume writing, computer literacy, interviewing techniques, positive work attitude, and teamwork.

Self-empowerment sessions provide a holistic approach to further students’ personal growth. The goal of these classes is to encourage open dialogue about personal challenges and develop strategies for dealing with them.

Graduate Follow-Up
Upon completion of the program, graduates continue to work with DCCK’s training and employment staff. Graduates are assisted in an intense job search to obtain full-time employment at local restaurants, hotels, caterers and other hospitality businesses.

In 2012, the Culinary Job Training program achieved several milestones:

Opportunities for Employers
Students participate in a one month internship at a local hotel, restaurant, catering or foodservice operation. Students are cjt2exposed to various facets of kitchen operations under the supervision of mentoring chefs. This is an opportunity for chefs to work with and train students for up-coming positions at the internship site.

Graduates of the training program are motivated, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and ready to be a part of the team at your foodservice or hospitality business. Prior to the training program, candidates must meet the Kitchen’s standards for attitude and literacy. In addition, candidates must also be drug free.

Graduates of the training program are employed by such businesses as: Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Centerplate at Washington Convention Center; Marriott at Wardman Park, Fairmont Hotel, Holiday Inn Capitol; Aramark Food Service; Armed Forces Retirement Home; DC Public Schools; Fiesta In A Box Catering; Geppetto Catering; The Smithsonian Institution; Fresh Start Catering; among others.

DC Central Kitchen is committed to ensuring that training program graduates succeed in the workforce. Training staff conduct a comprehensive evaluation that helps graduates with their transition into the workforce. Once a graduate is on the job, staff will continue to be available for follow-up.

DCCK’s training program offers a constructive solution to the problem of unemployment in our community. This is a solution that works for everyone: employers get qualified employees, and men and women in need of a good job get work in their field of interest.

At DCCK, we use food as a tool to build community partnerships that support people who are making the transition to self-sufficiency. Employment partners are always welcome.

Graduate Success Stories
Visit the archive of stories about our graduates.

For program information, contact Marianne Ali:
For media inquiries, contact Paul Day, Communications Manager:

United Way Charity Navigator

DC Central Kitchen

425 2nd St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Near Union Station)
United Way# 8233, CFC# 67538
EmploymentDirectionsPrivacy PolicyContact Us