DSC_8470Chef Robert Duehmig loves to teach. After 42 years in the culinary arts, he comes to RaY ready to give back. As Kitchen Coordinator, Chef Robert trains youth as part of RaY’s Kitchen Training Program.

“It’s great to see the excitement when they learn new skills,” he says of his youth trainees. “I think it’s very important to give praise when they are doing things correctly, I like to make a big deal about their successes.”

The Kitchen Training Program is an integral part of RaY’s Growing Opportunities department. Trainees complete a three month paid training course at RaY, followed by a one month placement at a restaurant or organization in the community. This gives them two employment references for their resumes, as well as real world experience. During the in-house training, they learn important skills for a career in the culinary arts: knife skills, sauces, meal-planning, kitchen cleanliness. They write their food handlers exam and receive first aid training. “It’s giving me a lot of experience,” one kitchen trainee said of their work placement.

Chef Robert has cooked for many prestigious events and people, most notably Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but he now finds meaning in his work with homeless and street-entrenched youth at RaY’s drop-in centre.

“We don’t just teach them how to cook,” Chef Robert says. “We teach them life skills, like accountability and how to ask questions. It makes me feel very good when they succeed and improve.”

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The Kitchen Training Program is generously sponsored by The Home Depot Canada Foundation and Cadillac Fairview. RaY would like to thank our Community Partners for providing placement opportunities for youth trainees: The Oakwood Cafe, Miss Brown’s, After Dark Winnipeg, and Decadence Chocolates.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the Kitchen Training Program, please contact Breda Vosters at 204-783-5617 ext 205 or bvosters@rayinc.ca. If you would like to host a youth trainee in your restaurant, please contact Monika Franklin-Bevan at 204-782-5617 ext 208 or mfranklin-bevan@rayinc.ca.