Culinary Training Program
Our goal is simple:
Love well and teach our homeless and transitioning students a new skill set.
Anyone can learn a new skill set. Our aim, however, is to re-establish identity and sense of purpose and destiny. If we can help break cycles of hopelessness, bad choices, and regret, our students will not only secure jobs but also be confident to enter relationships with their communities once again.
“That’s our vision—and our fundraising challenge,” said Brett Swayn, the formerly homeless founder of Lambscroft. “We want to raise enough money to enable a homeless individual to go through a seven-month program (some students require more than five months depending on the level of trauma, health issues, and mental state when they reach us). That involves housing, monthly stipend, uniforms, kitchen utensils, study guides, medical and dental check-ups. Once a student graduates, they have, on average, one to two months to find a job and begin saving to transition back into the community.
The new Nashville is seeing a dramatic rise in rental and housing costs. Fewer people are finding affordable housing; imagine our friends on the very bottom spectrum of the economic scale. We continue to try and keep our expenses as low as we can for these individuals. Every dollar that is donated goes towards our efforts to restore and re-train our students with hope, integrity and the value of community. It costs us an estimated $5,000 per student; sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the whole state of the individual. We treat everyone on a case-by-case basis. Our aim is not to “get them in and get them out”. Our aim is to see individuals restored, living in hope and in a community where surviving is no longer their daily task.
How long is the Culinary Training Program? It is a minimum of five months. Some individuals require longer. It can take between five -12 months to successfully graduate a student.
What is involved in the training? Our students begin with proper dishwashing setup. ServSafe food safety and preparation is taught and they must pass the testing aspect to be ServSafe certified. They are taught how to prep, cut, store, label and dispense foods. They are taught grilling and cold bar station setup, execution, and cleaning. They learn how to make food by using recipes and measurements. They also learn how to problem solve; how to handle conflict; how to work with others who have varying personalities, capacities and shortcomings. They are given opportunities to create, demonstrate and share in the creative process in the kitchen. They are given every opportunity to learn to live with others respectfully, sacrificially and openly.
Are the students the ones making the food in the café? We have paid staff members in the kitchen at all times. Students learn how to prep and assist the line cooks as your meals are made. Once they have shown the capacity to execute prep work and other assigned tasks, they are taught how to setup different menu items and the art of making your meal look and taste amazing.
NOTE: We are not an emergency or temporary housing solution for someone needing a place to live. We fully understand the affordable housing shortage in Nashville. We only take those who are serious about the training and the opportunity to make a change in their life’s direction. We have limited beds. We want to ensure that those who are serious about the program are able to concentrate, work hard in their training, and rest well when they go home.