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What is GO Kitchen Ready?go-graduation-cap-with-white-circle-vector-bw-300x300

Green Opportunities Kitchen Ready program prepares Asheville residents for work in kitchens. It is a free, revolutionary educational system that helps employ locals and provide restaurants in Foodtopia with qualified employees. Many graduates go on to AB-Tech for a culinary degree, armed with the basics and newfound confidence.

From Green Opportunities’ website: “Kitchen Ready students earn the ServSafe food handler’s certification from the National Restaurant Association and participate in a mentoring program supported by premiere Asheville restaurants and chefs. A portion of the program is devoted to essential life skills training, including resume writing, interviewing, job search, and job retention skills. Upon program completion, Kitchen Ready students receive a Foundations of Culinary certificate from A-B Tech.”

Heirloom Hospitality Group supports GO Kitchen in many ways. Nightbell hosted a benefit dinner with guest chef Nate Allen from Knife & Fork in Spruce Pine, NC. Executive Chef Katie Button and Pastry Chef Carmen Vaquera have provided instructional demonstrations for GO Kitchen students.

GO Kitchen Ready students with local chefs, including Heirloom Hospitality Group's Chef Katie Button, Carmen Vaquera, and Andrew Buie.

GO Kitchen Ready students with local chefs, including Heirloom Hospitality Group’s Chef Katie Button, Carmen Vaquera, and Andrew Buie.

Last month, a new group of cooks graduated from the GO Kitchen Ready program. One graduate has already secured a job at Cúrate.

Meet Michelle O’Dette, GO Kitchen alum

Michelle O’Dette is a new line cook at Cúrate. Originally from Orlando, she moved to the area 15 years ago with her parents. She was a young mother and soon met her husband. When her three sons were old enough, Michelle decided to enroll at AB Tech in their GED program. There, she learned about the GO Kitchen Ready program.

“I’ve always loved to cook and wanted to start my own food truck but I had no idea how to start,” Michelle said, “so that’s when I started GO.”

Michelle O'Dette plating dishes at GO Kitchen Ready's Southside Kitchen. Photo courtesy Green Opportunities via Facebook.

Michelle O’Dette plating dishes at GO Kitchen Ready’s Southside Kitchen. Photo courtesy Green Opportunities via Facebook.

She registered for the 17-week program and began training with Chef Liam Luttrell-Rowland, preparing lunches for Southside Kitchen and improving her kitchen skills. Southside Kitchen is “Green Opportunities’ soul food restaurant and interactive culinary classroom.”

According to GO Kitchen’s website, students like Michelle don’t just learn how to cook, but “basic food service and technical skills including food safety, basic knife skills, culinary math, equipment identification, production method cooking, food station assembly and break down, basic culinary techniques, and kitchen communication, teamwork, and cleanliness” – a complete culinary education.

Michelle and her family at her GO Kitchen Ready program graduation in November, 2016.

Michelle and her family at her GO Kitchen Ready program graduation in November, 2016.

From intern to line cook

With the help of Chef Liam, Michelle obtained an internship at Cúrate to gain experience in a professional environment. Due to her skills and energy, Frank Muller, Heirloom Hospitality Group’s director of culinary operations, offered her a position at Cúrate.

“Thanks to Chef Liam I was given the opportunity to intern at Cúrate,” Michelle said, “and thank you to Frank for giving me a chance and hiring me.”

Michelle still hopes to open her own food truck someday. First, she is getting valuable experience in one of Asheville’s busiest kitchens. Michelle is setting an example for her sons, showing them that hard work leads to success.

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Michelle’s testimonial from the Green Opportunities website

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