NEW PROGRAM: Fort Worx Apprentices Learn in TAFB Mission Kitchen

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (April 12, 2021) The Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB), Taste Project, and The Culinary School of Fort Worth are proud to announce the launch of Fort Worx, a job readiness pre-apprenticeship program for adults interested in careers in the foodservice industry, with support from Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County. The 16-week program provides training and on-the-job learning in the fundamentals of food preparation.

The pilot program officially launches Monday, April 19. Fort Worx’s first class of apprentices will begin their training in TAFB’s Mission Kitchen. The apprentices will spend 8 weeks training under Chef Instructor Joan Denton, RDN, where they will receive hands-on instruction and participate in skill development activities. Apprentices will put their skills to work through paid on-the-job learning in a commercial kitchen, transforming surplus donated food into nutritious meals which are distributed to food insecure people in the community. Apprentices also complete a variety of other experiences to engage them in the mission of TAFB, to empower communities to alleviate hunger by providing food, education, and resources.

“We’re excited to work alongside such influential culinary programs to encourage those in our community to learn foodservice and essential life skills,” said Julie Butner, President and CEO of Tarrant Area Food Bank. “This program will allow these apprentices to assist our effort to end hunger while advancing their own skills through education, training, and employment in a culinary field.”

Once apprentices have completed their first 8 weeks at TAFB, they complete an 8-week externship at Taste Project’s Taste Community Restaurant, a non-profit pay-what-you-can restaurant.  Here the apprentices engage in additional work experience in a full-service restaurant environment.  on-the-job learning. They will spend 24-32 hours per week learning food prep management, managing a hot line, recipe development, ingredient sourcing, recipe costing, plating, menu building, and service planning.

“Fort Worx highlights how our Fort Worth community continues to come together to solve some of our toughest challenges in creative and innovative ways,” said Chef Jeff Williams, Founder and Executive Director of Taste Project.  “We are excited to equip apprentices with job and life skills, while also bringing them into community ensuring they know they are loved and supported.”

Upon completion of the externship, apprentices are assisted with job placement and are eligible to continue their education in The Culinary School of Fort Worth’s apprenticeship program, sponsored by their employer. Apprentices are Certified Fundamentals Cooks through the ACF upon completion of the program and passing the ACF exam and equipped for employment in fast-casual restaurants, food manufacturing, and institutional foodservice operations, such as hospitals, hotels, and corporate cafeterias.

The Culinary School of Fort Worth will provide oversight and support of the Fort Worx program and will work with Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County to place the apprentices in foodservice related jobs.

“A partnership with these great organizations that do so much for our community is rewarding in many ways,” said Jason Avelson, Apprenticeship and HS Partnerships Manager at The Culinary School of Fort Worth. “Upon completion of the Fort Worx program, we will continue to support the apprentices’ passion for foodservice with an opportunity to advance their culinary skills at The Culinary School of Fort Worth.”

Applications are still being accepted. Those interested can take the following steps:

Information Meeting:

  • Tuesday, April 13 at 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm, or Wednesday, April 14 at 6:00 pm, both being held at the Tarrant Area Food Bank: 2525 Cullen St, Fort Worth, TX 76107  (NOTE:  Two forms of ID will be required to prove eligibility at the information meeting.  Those could include:  Social Security card, Birth Certificate, Driver’s License, State ID and/or School ID, if not expired)

TARRANT AREA FOOD BANK (TAFB):  Empowering our communities to alleviate hunger by providing food, education and resources. Through a network of 350 partners, TAFB is able to provide access to over 1M weekly nutritious meals to children and adults facing hunger. This work resulted in access to 60 million nutritious meals in fiscal year 2020. Learn more at tafb.org.

Taste Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit established to feed, educate, and serve our community so they may “taste and see the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). We believe everyone should have access to healthy nutritional food. Our vision is to see our community become the solution to the challenges our community faces as it relates to hunger.  Our first project, Taste Community Restaurant at 1200 South Main Street in Fort Worth, focuses on healthy, quality meals made from fresh ingredients. Our menu has no prices. This is a give and take concept. We ask guests to do one of the following: 1) pay what you can afford, 2) pay what you would typically pay, or 3) pay what you would typically pay, plus a little extra.  To learn more, visit us at www.tasteproject.org.

THE CULINARY SCHOOL OF FORT WORTH:  The Culinary School of Fort Worth exists to prepare students to exemplify a standard of excellence in their culinary community. The school offers a 9-month post-secondary certificate program that covers Savory, Baking & Pastry, and Kitchen Management as well as two months of on-the-job-training in a professional environment.