Free culinary program addresses shortage

There are definitely not too many cooks in local kitchens.

DENVER - In restaurants across Colorado, Chef Jamey Fader sees the same thing -- there are not enough cooks in the kitchen.

"We've gotten to a point to where there's so many new restaurants opening that we have a gap," Fader said. "The viable trained cooks that we have, have sort of gotten to a very limited number and no one is filling back in that place yet."

Fader is the culinary director the Big Red F Restaurant Group overseeing 12 different locations. He says the shortage of line cooks is a problem.

"Instead of being frustrated, instead of complaining, how do we put people to work? How do we get people in our kitchens?" Fader said.

The answer lies with Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver. The school has launched a tuition-free, 4-week training program called Culinary Quick Start to get people out into the workforce.

"What's the minimum that we need to be able to teach people and how fast can we teach to get them into the kitchen and be productive as quickly as possible?" Barb Lindsay, director of workforce development at Emily Griffith, said.

Lindsay says conservative estimates show that in Colorado alone, there are more than 17,000 unfilled line cook jobs. Some estimates say that number is closer to 30,000.

"It's insane and you even with doing the quick start and providing 50 new employees every four weeks, it's still gonna be chipping away, chipping away, chipping away," Lindsay said.

Fader says this program will not only help the restaurant industry, it can change the lives of those who enroll in the class.

"Under-employed, under-paid, looking for a change, come to this class," Fader said.

If you want to find out more about the culinary program, click here: http://www.emilygriffith.edu/culinary-quick-start

"We had students that were homeless and have come in and taken the training and now they're employed," Lindsay said. "Really seeing that they have a career, it's not just this job. They have a career."

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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