Most of the 10-session LifePath Culinary and Kitchen Arts Training Program was conducted in a fully equipped hospitality training kitchen and dining room at the Palatine, Ill. campus of Little City, which provides services for those with autism and other disabilities in the Chicago area. The kitchen was built through a grant from the Greater Chicago Club Managers Association and its Foundation. For the final session, students worked with Twin Orchard’s staff in the Long Grove, Ill. club’s kitchens, to help prepare “live” meals.
The staff of Twin Orchard Country Club in Long Grove, Ill., taught a 10-session LifePath Culinary and Kitchen Arts Training Program earlier this year for eight participants in the Little City program, which provides services to individuals with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the Chicago area,
The training was conducted in a fully equipped hospitality training kitchen and dining room that has been built at Little City’s Palatine, Ill., campus, through a generous grant from the Greater Chicago Club Managers Association (GCCMA), in conjunction with its Foundation.
Residents of Little City and sister organizations enrolled in a training series developed in collaboration between Little City and the GCCMA, an association that is made up of both private and public club management professionals across the Chicagoland area.
For the Culinary and Kitchen Arts Training Program, Twin Orchard CC’s General Manager/COO, Gavin Speirs, and the club’s Food & Beverage Director, Ben Janssen, provided the bulk of direct instruction and hands-on training for the first series of ten classes.
The training is designed to provide both hands-on and visual learning related to the skills and requirements of jobs in the foodservice industry, and in particular for jobs at private clubs such as Twin Orchard.
Sessions during the training included topics such as kitchen safety, hygiene, table setting, and even food prep, and included nuanced details such as learning to hold a glass by the stem.
One participant, Jeff Aiken, commented that he “really liked the guys who taught the classes. They taught us things we need to know to work in a restaurant.”
The training culminated on March 30th, as program participants visited Twin Orchard CC to tour its dining and kitchen facilities and see how the skills and knowledge they had obtained through the Culinary and Kitchen Arts Training Program could transfer to the private-club setting. The final training module included hands-on preparation of food items in the club’s kitchen facilities, where the participants gained real-world experience in a live setting, helping the club’s professional cooks with tasks such as prepping cocktail sausages and breaded chicken.
Each participant in the program was also provided with written learning material and presented with a certificate of completion. As graduates, they will now be given access to a member of Little City’s Employment First Team, to discuss how to put their newly obtained knowledge and talent to work in pursuit of employment opportunities.
“Our association members are thrilled to offer both financial and tangible support for this worthy endeavor, to provide individuals with developmental disabilities the necessary skills for employment,” commented Michael Drury, CCM, General Manager of Shoreacres in Lake Bluff, Ill. and the current President of the GCCMA.
Added Casey Burke, Little City’s Director of Employment and Day Services:
“The combination of a transformational environment such as the kitchen along with the expertise of the trainers, hands-on learning experiences and course materials adapted for the learning styles of the trainees, culminated in a truly rewarding experience that has resulted in immediate benefits and which will ultimately pay future dividends.”