St. Pete chefs cooking up job opportunities for special needs adults

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (WFLA) — Top chefs in St. Petersburg are cooking up a great opportunity for special needs adults to find jobs in the food industry.

They’re helping to mentor and create a career path for graduates of the culinary arts teaching kitchen at PARC.

This program helps individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are interested in pursuing jobs in the food service industry to learn standard kitchen operating procedures and skills. In a culinary teaching facility, students are trained and certified the night of the event they have the opportunity to work side by side with our local chefs and serve and get to show their skills.

PARC is partnering with several St. Petersburg restaurants to find the student jobs after they complete the program.

“It’s fun to see what these kids are capable of you give them a leg up, it’s their hopes and dreams, it’s what they want to do.” said Chris Burghart, the Executive Chef at 1200 Chop House.

Several restaurants have joined the effort to help the culinary program that trains and certifies students with intellectual or developmental disabilities so they can find jobs in food service.

For students like Allison Tiemblay, a graduate of the program, the future is already looking bright.  Tiemblay has a full-time job at Birch and Vine, a popular restaurant inside the Birchwood Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg.   “My goal is to become a head chef and own my own restaurant in my future.”, said Tiemblay.

The Birchwood, Break Thru Beverage Brewery, Birch & Vine, 1200 Chop House, Guppy’s, Sky View, Tryst, and Rusty’s Bistro, are just some of the establishment that will be at Saturdays Top Chef’s event.  Parc is always looking for volunteers and chefs in the community to help with it many programs that help adults with special needs become self-sufficient. Learn more here.

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