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CJTP grad prep

Culinary Job Training

“Give a man a fish, you have fed him for today.
Teach a man to fish, and you have fed him for a lifetime.”

There is no better illustration of “We feed. We teach. We grow.” than the Culinary Job Training Program! This program trains unemployed or underemployed adults for meaningful careers in food service during an 11-week hands-on course taught by a professional chef. Housed at our headquarters in Raleigh at the Vernon Malone Center (1001 Blair Drive), our commercial kitchen is the teaching hub for our Culinary Job Training Program (CJTP). We share the facility with Meals on Wheels as part of the Food Runners Collaborative, an efficient multi-use hunger-relief operation that makes every dollar go further.

Each week, 40,000+ lbs. of food recovered from a variety of donors is delivered to CJTP by IFFS Food Recovery trucks. Students learn to cook and freeze this food into nutritious, well-balanced meals (up to 2000 meals per week!), which are then delivered to local soup kitchens and children’s programs. This helps these small non-profits use their limited funds for services rather than for food.

History and Goals

  • Launched in 1998 to offer cooked food to our agencies that could not utilize raw products.
  • Provides an opportunity for people in the soup lines and shelters to break the cycle of poverty, addressing one of the root causes of hunger.
  • Helps students become self-sufficient by obtaining meaningful employment in a food service position with a living wage.

CJTP Students Learn

  • Knife skills, equipment identification, and cooking terminology.
  • Hands-on cooking techniques for stocks, sauces, soups, salads, yeast breads, and quick breads.
  • ServSafe food safety and sanitation procedures
  • Life and employment skills, techniques for stress management, education in sexual harassment and basic nutrition.

Job Placement

CJTP helps graduates obtain and keep meaningful jobs with over 60 employers in the Triangle, including these restaurants.  Over 70% of CJTP graduates are employed 18 months after graduation. Some graduates are also hired by our not-for-profit catering service, Catering with a Cause, to learn more catering-specific skills before beginning a career in the food industry.

Continuing Education

 IFFS also offers Continuing Education Certificates for graduates of the CJTP program.  The multi-session trainings focus on a single topic and allow for more skill-sharpening in a specific area, such as Line Cooking, Baking/Cake Decorating, Breakfast Cookery, Buffet/Platter Presentation, Deli, and Butchery.


There are multiple steps to be completed BEFORE you schedule an interview. The application process may take up to 3 weeks. Please do not wait until the last minute to start the process as classes fill up quickly.

The first step is to attend an information session.

Info sessions will be held in the classroom at Blair Drive. Each session will last approximately 1 hour. Please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before the session is due to start. Please dress appropriately. Please wear closed toe shoes and no backless or spaghetti strap tops.

The next CJTP session is postponed.  If you have any questions, please contact Bevin Sekora at or 919-256-3880.

More useful information:

In Their Own Words

Featured Graduate

Janet HubbardJanet Hubbard, CJTP class of 2004,  has been working with Centerplate at the Raleigh Convention Center for the last 5 years, and before that, the State Legislature for 4 years. She has always loved food and cooking, but says she learned people skills and reliability through CJTP–qualities that employers look for. One day she hopes to own 3 different restaurants, and then own a Bed & Breakfast in retirement.

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