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.
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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Heritage Day chefs inspire Class 88 with career advice

, April 26th, 2012

This Wednesday was Heritage Day for Class 88. Students learned how to make cultural dishes from experienced local chefs, who also shared career and life advice.

This Heritage Day featured three chefs: Reuven Sugarman of Cuba Libre, Kate Jansen of Willow Restaurant, and Anthony Lombardo of 1789. The three chefs stressed the importance of perseverance and working hard as the students begin their careers.

“It’s not like you just graduate from this program, get a job, and you’re set for life. You’ve always got to push forward and work hard to stay ahead,” said Chef Lombardo.

Students helped the chefs prepare three fantastic dishes: Beef Picadillo, Spring Asparagus Bisque, and Lombardo Meatballs.

A special thanks to the chefs who made this a memorable Heritage Day.

Healthy Corners in the Community

, April 24th, 2012

Our Healthy Corners program, which delivers fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks to corner stores in neighborhoods located in wards 4, 5, 7 & 8 recently added a new store!

3rd Street Market, a beautiful new store located at the corner of 3rd & P St., NW is the latest store to begin offering healthy products such as apples, bananas, oranges, peppers, spinach, lettuce and other staple items to customers who would otherwise have to leave the neighborhood to purchase fresh products.

In addition to working with the store owners to make sure that they are keeping their shelves stocked with fresh fruits and veggies, our Healthy Corners team has also been busy providing tastings of products and recipe suggestions in stores, as well as attending community events to increase awareness of the program.

Kristen Pelzer Thomas, our Healthy Corners Program Coordinator, most recently attended a baby shower hosted by Chartered Health for fifty new and expectant mothers to provide samples of trail mix, banana bread and fresh fruits along with information about program offerings and locations.


Our next outreach event is coming up on May 6th when members of our team will take part in a discussion of healthy, affordable food and urban farming at the 2nd Annual North East Pie Contest.

This contest is part of the Sunday Suppers initiative to engage neighbors and create a greater community in Wards 5 and 6 via the shared connection 

of food.  Our neighbors from Wards 5 & 6 are invited to join us with their pies and/or appetites:

Meet Culinary Job Training Class 88

, April 23rd, 2012

Here is a brief profile of each student from Culinary Job Training Class 88.
[pdf “” 600 500]


Truck Farm Planting

, April 12th, 2012

Check out this amazing time lapse video of the planting, shot by Lance Cheung at the USDA:

CJT Class 87 Graduates with Packed Audience

, April 10th, 2012

Culinary Job Training Class 87 graduated last Friday. It was a packed crowd at the U.S. Navy Memorial and Heritage Center as Jim Vance, Anchor for NBC 4, gave a compelling talk to the graduating class. At graduation, 14 out of 19 students were hired (74%) and half of those hired had full benefits. The average hourly wage was $10.89. Check out some of the employers:

We would like to thank Jim Vance and former CJT graduate Jeffrey Lustre from Class 75 who told his incredible story at the event. Thanks to all of the people who attended. This was one of our most well attended graduations and it really shows the family and community support for the program.

Below a scene from one of the afternoon’s most touching moments, when Robert Egger surprised one of our graduates, Michael Parsons, with a job.

Family Spring Break at DCCK

, April 5th, 2012

Tommy Olson from St. Paul, Minnesota wanted his kids to have a unique spring break experience. At his law firm in St. Paul, he has organized volunteer efforts with Meals on Wheels and currently tutors with co-workers at a local church every Tuesday.

He wants to pass his enthusiasm for giving back on to his children, so he searched for volunteer opportunities around the country over spring break and came across DC Central Kitchen. The family made the trip to DC to spend two days volunteering at the Nutrition Lab.

Aiden and Annie said that they’ve never been on a trip like this before, though they’ve spent plenty of time volunteering with their dad as their scout leader.

While they expressed a little bit of reluctance about the plans at first, Aiden said that they’re having a lot of fun here in DC and at the Lab. On their first day the Olson’s helped peel 500 pounds of carrots. Tommy said that they’re all eager to go back to St. Paul and share their stories of the time spent here at the Lab with Annie and Aiden’s classmates.