Our Alumni Family

Our Alumni Family

Our Alumni Family

An Ever Growing Family

Our alumni are our pride and joy- demonstrating in their lives the true power of kitchens to change lives. Our alumni go on to work at top restaurants and hotels across San Diego, with a 90% employment rate post graduation. As part of an apprenticeship program we continue to monitor their progress along a career pathway for 18 months post graduation.

Kitchens for Good offers ongoing alumni services including employment services, mentorship, advance culinary learning, and social gatherings. As we like to say at Kitchens for Good- once you are part of the family you always will be!

Alumni Spotlight: Lorne 'Hammer' Jones

Lorne Jones,  is a veteran and felon, who came to our program after years of fruitless search for employment. No one would hire an ex-con with no civilian experience. “Hammer,” as he is known to all, began the program with a low self esteem, and low self worth- unable to support his family and feeling unworthy of employment. However, after participating in our training program, we saw him transform into a true leader for his classmates and co-workers, not to mention, he turned out to be an excellent baker.

Shortly after graduating, Hammer had 6 job offers, and chose the one that suited his skills and passion most. He is now employed full time as a lead baker at Panera Bread, having been recently promoted to supervisor and trainer. He has now become a mentor for our incoming classes of students and frequently appears as a guest chef for classes.

Alumni Spotlight: Bryanna Eartman

Bryanna Eartman, graduate of Class 2 has a redesigned her life through kitchens and cooking.  Here she tells her story:
“I have struggled with addiction for most of my life. My story was a revolving door of jails, institutions, and the streets from an early age. While at a re-entry treatment center after prison I learned about Kitchens for Good. I jumped at the opportunity to further my skills in the culinary industry. Kitchens for Good taught me so much in the kitchen but I really took the most from the workforce readiness classes. Having never had a job before, it was so helpful to learn about how to get the job and keep it.

Within a week of graduating Kitchens for Good, I landed my first job at Bunz Gourmet Burgers & Shakes with a renowned chef. He has become one of my biggest supporters and mentors.

In the last year I have earned 2 promotions and raises. I am now the full- time lead/supervisor line cook for the night shift. I owe it all to Kitchens for Good.

They helped me take my self defeating thoughts of “you are a felon and no one will hire you” and replace them with “you are worthy of a career”. My new message is, “Let your dreams be bigger than your fears, anything is possible”.

Alumni Spotlight: John Endrozo

John Edrozo came to Kitchens for Good after 15 years coming in and out of prison and drug treatment facilities. Upon his final release he decided he wanted to pursue his dream to become a cook. With no formal training, and unable to afford culinary school, he feared this dream was out of his reach. Then he learned about Kitchens for Good, where he promptly applied and was accepted. John soaked up all there was to learn in the kitchen and classroom, frequently staying late and coming in early to assist the chef.

After graduating John is working for Stehly Farms Organics at their Marketplace as a line cook. John has become an expert in vegan and vegetarian cuisine. In fact, John’s salads are so good, he’s developed a little bit of a following — a few recurring customers ask which salads he has made prior to making their purchases.

Alumni Spotlight: Shaun Flak

Shaun Flak is a veteran of the war in Iraq.  After returning from war, Shaun struggled to adjust back to civilian life, suffering from PTSD and depression and eventually homeless. With some experience working as a waiter and bartender in his career, he knew he had a passion to be in the kitchen, and wanted to not only get a job, but make this his career.  Shaun was one of the strongest students in the class, always volunteering to stay late or come in early to help out.  He greatly appreciated the workforce readiness classes, as he had been a long time out of work.  He showed clear leadership qualities and great attitude.

Upon graduation, Shaun had three job offers at various kitchens, and after some deliberation, he chose to work at Scripps Hospital making $13.50 an hour.  Just two months after graduating, Shaun has been promoted to Supervisor, making $24 an hour with full benefits. Shaun remains involved in Kitchens for Good as the chair of the Giving Back Committee of the Alumni Program.

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