Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the Culinary Training Program?
A. This 12-week hybrid online/ in-person program is a mix of online classroom time and hands-on job training designed to teach basic culinary skills such as equipment operation, knife skills and cooking techniques from an experiential perspective. It provides real-world experience in the Food Bank’s state-of-the-art kitchen, working with commercial equipment and food production. Coursework is done through Rouxbe, an online culinary program. The program is free and open to anyone in the community, subject to eligibility requirements. Class sizes are limited so we can provide individualized attention and instruction.
Q. What are the hours?
A. Online: hours are somewhat flexible for online coursework. Students are required to complete online lessons before in-person classes, however, there are not set hours and students can complete lessons at a time that best suits their schedule.
In-Person: In- person classes held two days per week (M/W or T/Th) from 9:00am-3:00pm. In order to keep in compliance with social distancing measures, classes that exceed four students will be split into two groups with Group A attending in-person classes on Mondays and Wednesdays and Group B on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Q. Where is the program located?
A. In-person classes are held at the Central Texas Food Bank in our 4,200 sq. foot kitchen. The food bank is located at:
6500 Metropolis Drive
Austin TX 78744
Q. How much does the program cost?
A. Our program is supported through the generosity of those who donate to the food bank. The program is free of charge and open to anyone in the community (subject to eligibility requirements, see question #10).
Q. What will I learn?
A. This program is designed to teach students knife skills, cooking techniques, and equipment operation from an experiential learning perspective. It provides students with online classroom instruction and hands-on experience in our commercial kitchen. Students will work on their resumes, interview skills, and connect with potential employers throughout the program.
Q. Do I get paid?
A. The students volunteer their time in return for their educational experience. This is not a paid job.
Q. Do you guarantee job placement?
A. This is an educational program only. While we do our best to connect students with potential employers, we cannot guarantee employment upon graduation. Graduating students will be encouraged to apply to the Food Bank if there are any open positions available.
Q. Do I need transportation?
A. If you do not have a car or other means of transportation, we provide bus passes to our students free of cost for the duration of their time with us.
Q. Do I need to buy tools or uniforms?
A. No. We provide our students with uniforms including pants, shoes, and chef’s jackets. Students are also provided with a starter tool kit and tablet for online coursework.
Q. What are the eligibility requirements?
A. Below are the eligibility requirements:
- Must be at least 18 years old or above
- Must have a high school diploma or GED
- Must be in the Austin metropolitan area or driving distance to the food bank
- Must not be a registered sex offender
- Must be seeking a full-time job in the culinary industry
Students must meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Meet the income eligibility requirements for SNAP benefits
- Reside in a homeless shelter or other temporary living facility
- Currently unemployed or underemployed
- Referred by a program partner
- Formerly incarcerated (please question #15 for limitations)
Q. Will I be drug-tested?
A. Students will be using knives, appliances and other equipment that is potentially dangerous if misused. As per Central Texas Food Bank policy, if we suspect that you are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, you may be asked to undergo a drug test or breathalyzer. If it is determined that you have come to class under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, you will be dismissed from the program immediately. This is a “no tolerance” safety violation.
Q. Are there any physical restrictions for this program?
A. The safety of our students, staff and volunteers is a top priority in our kitchen. Working in a kitchen is a very physical job. If you have medical issues that prevent you from being able to stand for prolonged periods, lift objects up to 50 lbs., bend over, or have restricted sight or hearing, we may need to consider this during the application process. We will make reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis.
Q. What if I have a learning disability?
A. We will evaluate each applicant on a case-by-case basis to see if the program is a good fit.
Q. What if I don’t speak English?
A. The Culinary Training Program is taught in English. Students must be able to communicate in the kitchen. We will evaluate applicants on a case-by-case basis.
Q. What if I have a criminal record?
A. Past criminal convictions, both felonies and misdemeanors, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. All applicants will be subject to a background check before proceeding with the program.