WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina’s Triad Community Kitchen celebrates a milestone as six of its TCK basic culinary alumni become the first to complete the two-year Hospitality Residency Program at Providence Restaurant.

In a press release, Second Harvest Food Bank wrote, “The Hospitality Residency Program was established two years ago as an integral part of Providence Restaurant and Catering, a not-for-profit social enterprise of Second Harvest Food Bank and Triad Community Kitchen.”

According the organization, the restaurant was established with three objectives: “Serve inspired cuisine using locally sourced ingredients; provide paid, “on-the-job” extended training for graduates of TCK’s basic culinary training program; and generate a steady source of revenue support to build on TCK’s success of providing unemployed and underemployed community members with the opportunity to learn culinary arts skills and be supported in securing family-sustaining employment in the growing food service industry.”

TCK not only helps unemployed and underemployed communities secure employment in the food service industry, but also support them through personal struggles.

The keynote speaker was Charles Hall, a graduate of the program from many years, who credits the organization with giving him the skills necessary to succeed in his career as General Manager of The Porch Kitchen and Cantina in Winston-Salem.

One of the graduates, Keontay Watson, struggled with alcoholism, and the support and motivation he received during the program helped him battle it.

“With them, it’s being like family. They’ve changed a whole lot about my life,” Watson says. “They helped me get through a problem with drinking. I’m two and a half years clean.”

Now, after more than seven years in the fast food industry, Watson has earned the skills necessary for his new job as a manager at local restaurant Barcode in High Point.

“It’s really a big blessing to me to be a part of this program,” Watson added.

For others, it’s just the opportunity of being a little bit closer to big culinary dreams, like Bria Ready.

“I come from a long line of chefs,” Ready said. “Culinary has been a big part of my life. I love to eat! So that’s a benefit as well. But it’s just a passion of mine, something that I really, truly enjoy doing,” she explains about why she decided to take on the program.

The graduation also honored members of Triad Community Kitchen’s CC54 and CC55 classes for completing the 13-week basic culinary training program.

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