Each year at our signature fundraising event, Capital Food Fight, we honor a staff member who exemplifies the spirit of empowerment and change that we celebrate at DC Central Kitchen with the Shining Star Award. Recipients of the award are provided a scholarship to further their education in a specific field. Many go on to sharpen their skills and ultimately, bring that information back to DC Central Kitchen to improve our work.
One of this year’s Shining Star Award winners was Kate Saggio, a cook on our Healthy School Food team who works at the Walker-Jones Education Campus. Kate learned about the Culinary Job Training program at N Street Village, a local nonprofit that focuses on empowerment and recovery for homeless and low-income women in Washington, D.C. She hoped that the Culinary Job Training program would help her find her true passion before enrolling in college. After graduating from DCCK in November 2013, Kate joined the Healthy School Food team as a cook preparing locally-sourced, scratch-cooked meals for low-income elementary school students. Now almost three years later, Kate still loves her job working at Walker-Jones.
“I love seeing the kids enjoying the food I prepare,” she says.
In addition to preparing meals for DC schoolchildren, each year Kate helps the DC Central Kitchen team prepare meals for the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge invites kids, ages 8-12 to create an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty. Each year our staff is asked to prepare the winning dishes for the judging – over 100 dishes in one day! The winning kid chefs are flown to Washington D.C. with a parent or guardian to attend the Kids’ “State Dinner,” which was hosted by First Lady Obama in Summer 2016.
Kate plans to use her Shining Star scholarship to help pay for her part-time studies at Stratford University where she’ll begin pursuing an Advanced Associate’s Degree in the Culinary Arts this Spring.