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Pathways of Progress: The Story of Two DCCK Culinary Graduates

Ednetta and Kishawn Winter appeal 24

We are proud to share that 90% of this year’s Culinary Job Training program graduates have overcome barriers to employment and secured new jobs! Many have become our colleagues here at DC Central Kitchen, while others have become the talented professionals DC’s hotels and restaurants need to thrive. These results are a testament to the power of your support of our “knife skills and life skills” curriculum and world-class training environment, which are preparing our students for a brighter future.  

Students like Kishawn, a recent graduate of our program. Kishawn completed his externship at the new AC Hotel Washington DC Capitol Hill Navy Yard, a hotel in the Marriott International portfolio, and has been thriving as part of their culinary team ever since. What makes his journey even more inspiring is the support and encouragement he receives from a 2017 graduate of our Culinary Job Training program, Ednetta, who serves as his manager! Having walked in Kishawn’s shoes and secured multiple promotions, she understands how to support him in his own journey. “We both went to DC Central Kitchen, and I’ve been where he is now starting off as a cook and trying to work my way up. I’m glad to say that I did work my way up. I’ve become an executive sous chef,” she proudly told us. Through the power of mentorship, Ednetta and graduates like her can inspire others seeking a fresh start. 

This type of mentorship is taught to our students from day one in our Culinary Job Training Program. Throughout Kishawn’s time in our program, he found unwavering support from Associate Director of Workforce Development Jeff Rustin, who leads our intense Self-Empowerment classes and became Kishawn’s devoted advocate. Kishawn shares, “Especially if you have a backstory of substance abuse, domestic violence, he really doesn’t want you to fail because if you fail, he fails.” In order to succeed students must “trust the process,” Mr. Jeff explains, and that ability to trust becomes an essential tool for their continued growth. Our commitment to equipping students to reach their fullest potential and believe in their own abilities helps them not only become culinary professionals, but the leaders our city needs.  

Ednetta’s journey as a chef was not an easy one, she explains. “It’s been hard. It’s been a lot of long nights and long days trying to get here and reflecting on myself and how I can do better and be a better part of the team, but I am proud that I am here where I am now.” Because she trusted the process, Ednetta is not only opening doors for Kishawn, but also paving the way for others to follow in their path from DC Central Kitchen to a meaningful career. 

Kishawn and Ednetta’s stories are a powerful testament to the transformative impact of our Culinary Job Training program. Our program is growing to serve more students than ever before this year, and your support will allow us to provide each student with the supplies, individualized support, and hands-on learning they need to grow and thrive.  

Ednetta and Kishawn are using their skills to strengthen our city. Will you empower more leaders like them with a gift today? Every donation made by December 20th will be matched by an anonymous DC family!