Cincinnati COOKS! is a free culinary job training program for under- and unemployed individuals. During the 10-week course, students learn the mechanics of a commercial kitchen, as well as professional and life skills to ensure success in the food service industry and in their personal lives. Course topics include: food safety, food inventory and storage, basic nutrition and knife skills. In addition to our staff, COOKS! students benefit from the experience of volunteer chefs and professionals.

Freestore Foodbank is working toward making our Greater Cincinnati region a place where every child has the food needed to develop into a healthy adult and where every adult has the opportunity to earn a living for themselves and their families.

Following graduation from Cincinnati COOKS!, students may enroll in our Second Course advanced program. The eight-week course provides higher skills training for management opportunities and employment in fine dining restaurants.

What is Cincinnati COOKS!?

Cincinnati COOKS! is a free job training program. During the 10-week course, you will learn the mechanics of a commercial kitchen, as well as professional and life skills to ensure success in the food service industry. Course topics include: food safety, food inventory and storage, and basic nutrition and knife skills. All classes take place at the Rosenthal Community Kitchen, located inside the Jeff and Darlene Anderson Family Building at 1141 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.

As a Cincinnati COOKS! student, you will also make a difference in the lives of hungry children. Most of the snacks and meals you prepare during training are served at Kids Cafe, our after-school feeding program for school-age children. With the support of Cincinnati COOKS! students, we are able to provide up to 3,750 Kids Cafe meals each week at more than a dozen school sites.

Continuing Education

Following graduation from Cincinnati COOKS!, you may enroll in our Second Course advanced program. The eight-week course provides higher skills training for management opportunities and employment in fine dining restaurants.

After completing both Cincinnati COOKS! and Second Course, you can further your education at Cincinnati State, transferring credits toward earning an Associate Degree in Culinary Management through the College of Business Technology.

Enroll in Cincinnati COOKS!

Classes take place from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. A new class starts every five weeks. Please see the rotation schedule and fill out online application or print application. You may also pick up an application packet at any time from the information kiosk outside the Rosenthal Kitchen, 1141 Central Parkway.

STUDENTS MUST:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Be drug and alcohol free
  • Come from a low income household
  • Strong desire for food service industry career
  • Contact 513-482-7298

Why does a food bank have a job training program?

One in six of our neighbors in the tristate area are at risk of hunger. Freestore Foodbank not only provides emergency food assistance, but we also wo­rk to help reduce the need. One way to shorten the line of hungry neighbors is to provide employment skills in fields where a trained work force is in high demand. As Cincinnati’s food scene grows, restaurants need trained employees who are ready to work. Cincinnati COOKS! not only provides those employees, but the program is aimed at creating stability and self-reliance so our graduates can successfully support themselves and their families. Meet our graduates Adam and Tiara.

What is Cincinnati COOKS!?

Cincinnati COOKS!Cincinnati COOKS! is a free culinary job training program for under- and unemployed individuals. During the 10-week course, students learn the mechanics of a commercial kitchen, as well as professional and life skills to ensure success in the food service industry and in their personal lives. Course topics include: food safety, food inventory and storage, basic nutrition and knife skills. In addition to our staff, COOKS! students benefit from the experience of volunteer chefs and professionals.

Cincinnati COOKS! Culinary Job Training ProgramsSince the program began in 2001, over 1,500 people have graduated. Those students have gone on to find employment at more than 200 local culinary institutions including restaurants, school cafeterias, retirement communities, day care centers, corporate dining halls, catering companies, bakeries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, banquet halls, Cincinnati International Airport, Cincinnati Museum Center, and Jack Cincinnati Casino.

Following graduation from Cincinnati COOKS!, students are eligible to enroll in our Second Course program. The eight-week course provides advanced skills training for management opportunities and employment in fine dining restaurants. Graduates from Cincinnati COOKS! and Second Course can continue their education at Cincinnati State, entering with 30 academic credit hours toward an Associate Degree in Culinary Management.

Cincinnati COOKS! Feeds Hungry Kids

Kids Cafe - Donate CincinnatiCincinnati COOKS! not only offers adults a second chance at employment, but also provides critical food assistance to children through Kids Cafe. In our region, over over 80,000 children are food insecure and may not know where they will find their next meal. Consistent, good nutrition is critical to supporting a child’s ability to grow and learn. Thousands of students depend on the free and reduced breakfast and lunch meals offered at their schools, only to go home to no dinner. Kids Cafe works with after-school programs to provide children with a third hot, nutritious meal each day. All Kids Cafe meals are prepared by Cincinnati COOKS! students, providing them with critical culinary skills and the opportunity to help others.

Freestore Foodbank is working toward making our Greater Cincinnati region a place where every child has the food needed to develop into a healthy adult and where every adult has the opportunity to earn a living for themselves and their families.