Welcome New Members!

The Catalyst Kitchens network is growing. Over the past several months, we’ve welcomed five new member organizations into our family and are excited to share more about the meaningful work these agencies are engaged in.

The map below provides a snapshot of where each organization is based. We think one of the most interesting and powerful elements of Catalyst Kitchens is the diversity of organizations in the network, and this new group of members represents that perfectly. Geographic diversity aside, each organization has developed their own nuanced and innovative approach to reducing hunger, joblessness, and poverty in their community. This speaks not only to the power of the model; culinary training through food service social enterprise, but also to the importance of a network like Catalyst Kitchens to act as connector and convener for like-minded professionals. The movement grows!

New Member Map 4

LAK-Logo-6LA Kitchen, Los Angeles, CA
Joined: March 2018
Founded: 2013 
: Empower LA
Enterprise: Strong Food
Serving: Opportunity Youth, Reentry, Recovery

L.A. Kitchen believes that neither food nor people should ever go to waste.  By reclaiming healthy, local food that would otherwise be discarded, training men and women who are unemployed for jobs, and providing healthy meals to fellow citizens, L.A. Kitchen empowers, nourishes, and engages the community.

L.A. Kitchen’s social enterprise, Strong Food, purchases local produce that would otherwise be discarded, to manufacture healthy products they then sell. These products create great paying jobs with full benefits for their culinary job training graduates. Strong Food also generates income by securing contracts for co-packaging and preparing food for local businesses.


logoCoast Mental Health, Vancouver, BC
Joined: March 2018
Founded: 1972
Program: Culinary Skills Training Program
Enterprise: Social Crust Café & Catering
Serving: Opportunity Youth

The Culinary Skills Training Program offers youth recovering from mental illness or with other barriers to employment training, coaching, and work experience so that they can enter the labor force or continue further culinary schooling.

There are two components. The first is a five-month culinary program where students learn and practice culinary skills at the commercial kitchen in Coast’s Pacific Coast Apartments under the guidance of two Red Seal-certified chefs. The second is a six-week work experience practicum in Coast’s Social Crust Café & Catering, a Coast social enterprise located in Pacific Coast Apartment’s commercial space


YW Culinary LOGOYouthWorks, Santa Fe, NM
Joined: March 2018
Founded: 2001
Program: Culinary Skills Training Program
Enterprise: Catering
Serving: Opportunity Youth

YouthWorks is a nonprofit, community-based organization that creates opportunities for disconnected youth to become engaged and valued members of their communities. Through their programs—counseling, life skills, education, and job training and placement—they inspire at-risk youth to realize their full potential.

YouthWorks Catering is a business outgrowth of the culinary training program, in which ten to twelve youths work part-time providing food and service for events for local organizations.


HFB_headerlogo_sm2Houston Food Bank, Houston, TX
Joined: March 2018
Program: Culinary Arts Training Program
Enterprise: 535 Catering, Contract Meals
Serving: Homeless, Unemployed

The Houston Food Bank’s Culinary Job Training enrolls 48 students per year in a 12 week program.  Students prepare hot, cold, and frozen meals for delivery to shelters, individuals with barriers to access to services, and after school programs.  Their 535 Catering enterprise provides onsite catering and event space to individual and corporate clients.


PR_Logo_4RGB_smaller_170w_128hProject Renewal, New York, NY
Joined: February 2018
Founded: 1967
Program: Culinary Arts Training Program
Enterprise: City Beet Kitchens
Serving: Homeless, In Recovery

Project Renewal’s mission is to end the cycle of homelessness by empowering adults and children to renew their lives with health, homes and jobs.

The Culinary Arts Training Program trains 150 formerly homeless adults with histories of addiction each year through 6-months of classroom and internship training in the food service industry. Students learn basic cooking theory and food preparation in the teaching kitchen and intern at local restaurants and corporate dining services.  In 2001, they added a baking and pastry training track to enhance graduates’ marketability.  Over 85% of graduates have been placed in jobs since the program’s inception, and despite their pasts have kept their jobs at twice the rate as the industry average.

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