For the eight men and women in the Culinary Command Training Program For Veterans, it has been a life-changing experience. Culinary Command, a program designed to teach veterans high-level culinary skills to pursue careers in foodservice and hospitality, gave them an opportunity to utilize their skills as former members of our country’s military and apply them directly to the kitchen.
Founder and Head Instructor Chef David James Robinson brought a variety of backgrounds all together ranging from 16-years of cooking for the Army to a love for food that comes from home cooking and everything in between. 6-weeks ago, these participants came to the Culinary Command Training Program with the chance of a lifetime – the chance to succeed.
“It’s amazing to see some of the growth in these folks,” said Robinson. “Some of them didn’t know how to hold a knife correctly 6-weeks ago. Now, they are making advanced recipes.”
After 42-days of hard-core culinary lessons focused on making everything from scratch and techniques such as smoking, poaching, baking and the importance of wine pairing to name only a few, these eight students completed their training on July 27th, which culminated with a gradation dinner for 100 guests including friends and family of the participants, local and national supporters, students and veterans’ organizations.
Robinson’s final test brings all the skills the students learn together, and he encourages creativity and teamwork. The dinner is designed for the students to put their newly learned skills to the test.
“The students are instructed to either put a twist on a dish we already learned or make something entirely on their own based off technique they learned over the course the session,” explained Robinson. “The goal is make each dish coordinate as each student is assigned a course. The quality of the food and their creativity just blew me away.”
Throughout the 6-week session, The Culinary Command students sported Chefwear jackets, aprons and caps. The jackets, which featured each student’s name, the Culinary Command logo, and American flags on the collar were presented to the students on the first day of class and were worn day-in-and-day-out.
“Students were beside themselves when they received their uniforms,” Robinson stated. “The thought that went into each jacket was just an amazing moment for them to have, and now, to share with others. They were such a nice addition and added layer of professionalism and quality (to the session).”
Robinson began the Culinary Command Training Program in 2010 after hearing a variety of reports about the unemployment and suicide rate of our country’s military veterans. He quickly realized the similarities between life in the military and the life of a chef. The Culinary Command will start it’s third session in September. Click here to learn more about Chef David James Robinson.