Stroll offers new culinary apprenticeship program

BRATTLEBORO — In a program to be launched this month, Strolling of the Heifers will offer up to 16 people a chance to enroll in a paid apprenticeship program designed to help them start culinary industry careers.

The Stroll's Farm-to-Table Culinary Apprenticeship program is a 12-week program offering training that can lead to permanent food-preparation positions at restaurant and institutional kitchens.

The program is free to participants, including veterans, who meet income and employment status qualifications. It includes classroom time, as well as on-the-job experience at restaurant and institutional kitchens, for which participants will be paid.

The program is supported by grants from the Walmart Foundation, the Sandy River Charitable Foundation, and the New Chapter/Procter & Gamble Fund.

The aim of the program, says Orly Munzing, founder and executive director of Strolling of the Heifers, is to place all participants into permanent culinary employment at the conclusion of the program.

“If the participant is successful at completing the course work, we're pretty sure we can successfully place that person,” she said.

The program's curriculum director is Tristan Toleno, a member of the Vermont House of Representatives who is also a partner in Entera Artisanal Catering.

In addition, chefs and other food professionals from participating restaurants and institutions will provide instruction. Classroom and lab space is provided by the Windham Regional Career Center.

The program's curriculum includes:

• Food processing skills, including basic food preparation, knife safety and techniques, kitchen safety, commercial dishwashing, culinary math skills, customer etiquette, nutrition, plating and presentation, expediting, and minimizing food waste.

• Introductory management skills including inventory and cost control.

• Commercial food basics: sanitation, cooking science, nutrition information, sourcing.

• Local food systems and the value of maximizing use of local food.

• Job readiness skills: timeliness, cleanliness, grooming and appropriate dress, personal finance, time management, being supervised, and resume building.

Participants will spend more than half their time gaining experience in local commercial kitchens.

Enrollment is limited to 16 people. The program will run from June 22 to Sept. 4.

Qualifications include a history of low income, a history of unemployment or underemployment, and residence in Windham County, Vt., or Cheshire County, N.H., along with a serious interest in a culinary career and willingness to commit to the program's values, rules, and requirements.

The deadline to apply is Thursday, June 11. Further information and an application may be found at, or in person at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden, 157 Main St., Brattleboro.

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