June 29, 2017

How the Culinary Training Program Changed My Life

Author: Guest Blogger

Chef Shandra - former Culinary Training Student at Second Harvest Food BankWhen I started the Second Harvest Culinary Training Program, it changed my life.

Before this program, I was an assistant manager at a gas station, but even with that job, it was still a struggle for my husband and me to keep our heads above water. When I heard about this program from a friend, I hesitated to call, at first. When I finally did, though, I never could have imagined how much my life was about to change for the better.

In the beginning, it was a huge challenge for me. My hours were cut to part-time at work, and we were relying on my husband’s small income. I was worried I would have to quit and find more work so we wouldn’t get behind on bills. Read More …

May 2, 2017

Congrats to our Graduating Classes!

Author: Idalia Nunez

April 2017 Second Harvest Culinary Training Program GraduationOn April 28, 2017, Second Harvest Culinary Training Program held the graduation ceremony for Class 20, 21, and 22. During the graduation ceremony, certificates of completion were awarded to 24 students. Our commencement speaker was Chef Nora Galdiano from Sysco. Chef Nora reminded our graduates there is no easy road to success you must work hard but not forget to have fun. She pointed out to the importance of seeking out mentors and staying connected to people. Read More …

June 7, 2016

Parting Ways is Such Sweet Sorrow

Author: Idalia Nunez

June 2016 Graduating ClassMonday, June 6th, Second Harvest Culinary Training Program hosted the graduation ceremony for classes 14, 15, and 16.  We were joined by Congressman Daniel Webster who delivered an inspiring commencement speech on the importance of learning the value of time, reading, and listening.

Graduate Shawn Gadsden also shared her story, and spoke about how the Second Harvest Culinary Training gave her the confidence and determination to pursue her dreams. Read More …

December 8, 2015

How the Culinary Training Program Changed the Life of a Homeless Student

Author: Melissa Kear

Graduate student Theodore RiffeSince its inception, the Culinary Training Program has always been about helping qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged Central Florida adults gain a set of life and culinary skills they can use to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry. It is a 14-week program provided at no charge and designed to assist students with the barriers that have been preventing them from achieving success.

As every class comes to a close, we are always proud of our students as they leave the program into stable jobs or decide to further their education, and take that second chance in life for the better. One example of this is Theodore (Teddy) Riffe from Class 12 in the Culinary Training Program.

“The Second Harvest Culinary Training Program took a person who was homeless and without direction and set him on the path for success.  This program has changed my life by teaching me the skills needed to be a great chef. 

The staff and teachers put in every effort to help me be a better man and assisted me in getting gainful employment.  I’m currently employed as a Line Cook at the Grand Bohemian Hotel and have a career I love! This is a great program where the chefs and staff members are amazing and really care about me. I will be forever thankful for everyone at Second Harvest.”  Read More …

October 15, 2015

Kids Cafes to Receive Much Improved Meals Starting October 19th

Author: Santos Maldonado

Little boy with food

On Monday, October 19th, our community kitchen’s production line will begin to pump out freshly prepared, nutritionally balanced, and much improved afternoon meals for over 700 youngsters at 8 Orange, Osceola and Seminole locations.

The community kitchen honed its skills this past summer, serving up almost 117,000 meals for the Summer Food Service Program during 55 operational days at 40 locations. Earlier this month, our production staff began working with Orange County Public Schools to provide lunches and snacks to 20 Head Start sites.

For years, Second Harvest has relied on outside prepared food providers to support its childhood hunger programs. Now, with the proven performance of our Community Kitchen, this function can be handled internally. More importantly, in-house food preparation allows for better control over menu planning, freshness, and temperatures.

Economic benefits also ripple into the local economy as workers are hired and raw product is sourced. Read More …

October 15, 2015

Community Kitchen Recipe: Easy Peasy Pumpkin Soup

Author: Melissa Kear

Pumpkins in the Second Harvest Food BankJudging by all the pumpkin spiced latte, pumpkin spiced cookies and treats, and all the many other pumpkin spiced inspired items being advertised everywhere you turn, I think it is safe to say it is officially fall.

Though we may not have all our leaves turning orange and red, or gotten quite to sweater and scarf weather, pumpkins are in season, and our Nutrition Educator, Chef Terah Barrios, has just the healthy, inexpensive recipe to celebrate.


Easy Peasy Pumpkin Soup (Dairy Free) Read More …