Last month our Culinary Job Training team piloted the first-ever CJT Café, a fast casual, free dining experience for DC Central Kitchen volunteers run entirely by current students. The concept is an attempt to further students’ growth in the kitchen by providing hands-on training that teaches students about working from a set menu, firing orders, and front-of-house customer service.
“The café gives our students the opportunity to work efficiently under pressure, set up their mise en place correctly, become faster, and develop the unique sense of urgency that a cook must have.”
Since launch, the students have prepared more than 150 lunch items from the CJT Café for DCCK staff and volunteers. The menu includes salads, such as the CJT House Salad made with shredded lettuce, baby spinach, tomato, crumbled blue cheese, red onion, and balsamic vinaigrette; omelets; sandwiches; roasted chicken; pastas; seafood; and, homemade soups.
As the students add new culinary skills to their training, the CJT Café menu will evolve to offer new items. Currently the CJT Café is open to DCCK volunteers who support our Friday morning meal preparation shift, and we plan to offer additional service hours with future classes.