Inspiration kitchen serves both the food and the people. This organization trains homeless and poverty stricken Chicagoans to work within restaurant as chefs and/or cooks.
Here’s some of the stories from their website.
I came to Inspiration Corporation in 2003. At that time, my confidence, outlook for the future and self-esteem were at all-time lows. The Inspiration Kitchens training program began working with me. Once I graduated from the program, I began working in food service. Presently, I am the deli chef at Northwestern University and I am in my fifth year working there. I am the union steward for food service employees on campus and I have won many awards in food service and customer service. Students and employees come to me often for advice and conversation. I have a great relationship with management on all levels. I receive no public assistance. My goal is staying healthy. And I have no plans to retire. I am having the time of my life and all of this is due to the training and supervision I received at Inspiration Corporation.
I used to work in refrigeration. But the places I worked didn’t always give me steady work or they took advantage of me because they knew I would have a hard time finding another job because of my background. I heard about this program on TV about a year before I applied. I’ve always been interested in cooking. I like it a lot. I do all the cooking at home. Someday, I would like to have my own restaurant – upscale, but not fine dining. And I’d like to have my own garden for the restaurant to grow my own herbs. In addition to cooking, I’m an artist. Some of my artwork – made from pixilated camera phone photos – has traveled to Germany, Poland and Israel. I also volunteer at Pros Arts Studio in Pilsen.
I’ve been cooking since I was 15 years old. (I’m 36 now.) I love cooking because it’s calming. I first found out about Inspiration Kitchens-Garfield Park when I walked by it and saw the sign that said that there was going to be a restaurant training program. I called the number on the sign and I was really persistent about getting in. I have lived in Garfield Park all my life. I’m an ex-offender. (I committed a crime thirteen years ago.) I wanted to go to cooking school for a long time, but I couldn’t afford it. I had my own snack shop for three years and made steak burgers, fries and nachos from noon till 10 pm. I also used to barbecue in the park every day in nice weather. I think this program will give me the technique and precision I need. I also want to be part of the garden. Someday, I’d like to work on a cruise ship. I may not be able to do that right out of the class, but eventually that’s what I’d like to do.