Denver’s got too few cooks in the kitchen, industry leaders team up to help

Kitchen staff. (Ana Orrach/Flickr)
Kitchen staff. (Ana Orrach/Flickr)
Kitchen staff. (Ana Orrach/Flickr)

EATDenver and Sage Restaurant Group are teaming up Emily Griffith Technical College to offer free four-week courses to train entry level line and prep cooks.

The sessions won’t produce master chefs, but they will provide much needed back of house staff and ease staffing shortages across Denver’s growing restaurant scene.

The program, entitled Culinary Quick Start, will launch in 2017 and will be free in January and February. Participants will learn food prep and safety basics, and, upon completion, will be guaranteed connection to more than 100 restaurants with job openings in Denver.

EatDenver executive director Adam Schlegel told the Denver Business Journal this type of tuition-free course offering is unprecedented. It goes to show how desperate the staffing situation has become for Denver restaurants.

In fall 2015, Eater reported that Denver restaurants had been facing dire staffing shortages and high turnover, due to an “out-to-eat” renaissance in Denver, as well as an overly romanticized restaurant culture. Employees in understaffed kitchens can clock in up to 200 hours of overtime, and leadership has turned to hiring on-the-spot to combat shortages.

With more than 250 new restaurants opening per year, the amount of job openings only seems to be rising, Denver Business Journal reported.

While the program will be free in January and February, leaders are currently pursuing a grant request to a private foundation in hopes of continuing to offer the course free-of-charge throughout 2017.

Culinary Quick Start is open to students who can attend sessions Monday through Friday from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. at the Emily Griffith Campus at 1860 Lincoln Street. Visit Emily Griffith Technical College’s website for more information.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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