Central Texas Food Bank’s Culinary Training Program Empowers Recent Graduate to Chase Her Dreams


The Culinary Training Program is a cornerstone initiative of the Central Texas Food Bank, designed to provide individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the culinary industry. This 12-week, cost-free program offers over 360 hours of rigorous training, combining both culinary arts and professional development. Participants receive hands-on experience in various cooking techniques, nutritional education, and practical skills such as food safety and kitchen management.

Culinary Training Program graduate Tracy Montez exemplifies how Food Bank programs empower members of our community to build brighter futures. Raised in a family of chefs, Tracey joined our program to hone her culinary expertise and elevate her skills to a professional level. Throughout the program, she and her classmates mastered basic cooking techniques, learned to prepare a wide variety of dishes, and gained an in-depth understanding of nutrition.


In addition to culinary skills, the program places a strong emphasis on job readiness. Participants engage in resume workshops, interview preparation, and other professional development activities designed to enhance their employability and career prospects. This holistic approach ensures that graduates are not only skilled chefs but also well-prepared to navigate the job market.

Tracey’s journey doesn’t stop at culinary arts. She is also pursuing a degree in communications, aiming to combine her culinary skills with her passion for storytelling and community engagement. Her ultimate dream is to launch a food truck business with her family, where she can bring her unique culinary creations to a broader audience while promoting the importance of nutritious, delicious food.

Reflecting on her experience, Tracey shared, "Donations are going to a great place. I have been here every day, and I haven’t missed out. I’m making sure I am getting an education and taking everything away. Very thankful for being able to come here and take my life to the next level. Very thankful!"

The success of graduates like Tracey highlights the profound impact of the Culinary Training Program on individuals and the community at large. By providing accessible, high-quality training, the program not only equips participants with valuable skills but also contributes to the local economy by fostering a skilled workforce. Graduates often go on to secure employment in local restaurants, start their own businesses, or continue their education, thereby driving economic growth and stability in Central Texas.

The Culinary Training Program is powered by the generosity and support from caring members of our community. Monetary donations help ensure that the program remains cost-free and accessible to all who wish to participate. As we look to the future, we aim to expand the program to accommodate more students and incorporate additional training modules, such as advanced culinary techniques and food entrepreneurship, to better prepare our graduates for the evolving demands of the culinary industry.

More than just a training initiative, the Central Texas Food Bank’s Culinary Training Program is a life-changing experience that empowers individuals like Tracey Montez to pursue their dreams and make a positive impact on our community. We are incredibly proud of our graduates and grateful for the continued support that makes this program possible.

Donate to the Food Bank today to support our programs and help make a difference in the lives in neighbors like Tracey.