Hot Bread Kitchen and the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) announce a new collaboration to present “First Course NYC,” a culinary training and apprenticeship program that prepares New Yorkers for quality restaurant cook jobs in restaurants across the city. The program, developed in 2018 by SBS and the NYC Food and Beverage Industry Partnership, is led by renowned restaurateur Chef David Waltuck, and will help satisfy New York City restaurants’ growing demand for talent while setting diverse participants from across the city on a path to economic mobility.
“Hot Bread Kitchen is thrilled to partner with SBS to bring the First Course program to our community. This program will not only expand opportunities for personal and professional growth for our members, but will also help mitigate the labor shortage facing New York City’s 24,000+ restaurants. Innovative partnerships and workforce programs like First Course are what will keep our city on a path to economic recovery.”Leslie Abbey, CEO of Hot Bread Kitchen.
The 14-week program includes eight weeks of Fundamentals classroom kitchen instruction at Hot Bread Kitchen’s Chelsea Market headquarters. A four-time James Beard Award-winning chef best known for his pioneering restaurant Chanterelle, Waltuck has nearly 50 years of kitchen experience, and is a seasoned First Course instructor. Under his leadership, the First Course NYC training will provide program members with the requisite skills to become a restaurant cook, accompanied by Hot Bread Kitchen’s time-tested professional readiness courses and social services support, including assistance accessing childcare, housing, and more.
“First Course can be a starting point to getting anywhere. It’s for people who are very motivated and passionate about food and cooking, who could really feel fulfilled working in a restaurant. Hot Bread Kitchen’s support fits perfectly with the First Course program. It’s a first step to get into the food industry, and members can pursue growth in whatever way works for them.”Chef David Waltuck
Fundamentals training is followed by a paid, six-week on-the-job apprenticeship in respected restaurant partner kitchens throughout the city, with additional oversight and support of the program team at Empowered Hospitality. Apprentices who successfully complete the First Course NYC program are expected to be retained as full-time restaurant cooks in their host kitchens. Hot Bread Kitchen will run four cohorts of the First Course program in 2023 with ~25 apprentices per cohort.
Throughout members’ apprenticeships and into their careers, Hot Bread Kitchen will continue to provide intensive, individualized support. Hot Bread Kitchen’s aim is that program members, or “Breadwinners,” can leverage their initial job placements to grow in the culinary industry–that their roles as restaurant cooks be stepping stones to opportunity for their families and communities. Since the post-pandemic relaunch of First
Course NYC in January 2022, five cohorts have completed training, adding qualified entry-level restaurant cooks to meet the restaurant industry’s growing demand.
“New York City’s restaurants are hungry for trained, skilled workers. The First Course NYC initiative connects trainees with their passion and sets them on a path to a career they love. We are excited about this collaboration with Hot Bread Kitchen, and we know this program will continue to fuel our city’s economic recovery.”Kevin D. Kim, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services
“One of the long-term strategic goals of the First Course NYC program has been to develop a model for training restaurant new hires that is recognized as effective and can be utilized by restaurants, and by culinary workforce development training providers, to meet the training goals of NYC F&B industry employers and workers.”Steven Picker, Executive Director of the NYC Food & Beverage Industry Partnership
The next cohort for First Course NYC will begin May 8th, 2023. For more information or to sign up for an information session, visit nyc.gov/firstcourse or dial 311 and ask for “First Course NYC.”