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30 Days of the Culinary Training Program: What have we learned so far

Over the last four weeks, our 4 young trainees have been given an introduction to the Modenese kitchen and food system; explored seasonal and local vegetables; and worked alongside volunteer chefs to learn recipes like fresh pasta and creative takes on traditional dishes like Afro-Sushi. They have grown technical skills including knife skills, professional kitchen management and household finance, and practiced their non-technical skills such including professional communication, time management and teamwork.

First Day

We kicked off the first Pilot of the Culinary Training Program with a welcome from our partners, Federico Valenzano and Catia Fois from Caritas Diocesana Modenese who welcomed us into their space for the next four months; and Fabiana Soliani from Social Services who has worked with us since the beginning of the program to select our trainees and build our program.

Welcome to Alessia!

We were thrilled to welcome AIW’s newest addition to the team, our Chef Trainer, Alessia Morabito, a teacher, cook, entrepreneur, and who among other passions has a special love for ethnic home cooking.

Modena Food Tour

We kicked off the first week exploring Modenese traditions. AIW’s Culinary Director, Chef Jessica, led our trainees on a Food Tour of Modena, thanks to the welcome from local businesses Museo della Salumeria Villani, Acetaia Montale, and Zanasi Fabio and Da Sergio from Mercato Albinelli.

In the kitchen, rainees learned how to make traditional recipes including Passatelli in Brodo, bollito, and fresh pasta.

Food System and Organic Farming

Trainees also had the opportunity to learn about the local food system, seasonal and local produce from the area, and bio farming methods. Catia, food programs coordinator for Caritas Modenese taught an introduction to the Mediterranean diet and local produce, which trainees got to see for themselves at a visit to Coopattiva “Natura che Cura” Farm in Nonantola.

Technique Practice

In the kitchen, trainees were able to practice their knife skills and the different types of cuts, cleanliness in the kitchen, and time organization throughout the day.

Volunteer Chefs

We were joined this month by volunteer chefs like Dario Forghieri of Modena Chefs Association, Claudia Poligioni from Coexist community kitchen (a UK-based non-profit) and Chef Delisia Essono, founder of Black Delicious Lab in Rome.

Here pictured Chef Delisia explains her creative, nutrition-based approach to traditional african dishes. This class inspired trainees to think about their own traditions and how they can reinterpret them based on what they are trying to say.

Skill Builder Program

Outside the kitchen, trainees were able to grow their skills and practice situations that they might find themselves in in the future. AIW’s volunteer Skill Builders, Magda and Arpita taught six women lessons on “Whatsapp and written communication for professional settings” and “Basic household finance and budgeting.”

Trainee Feature: Charity

This month, we are recognizing our trainee Charity who has demonstrated excellent attitude in the kitchen, who takes initiative and leads by example, and who has been recognized for her teamwork by our volunteer chefs. When asked what she wants to work on next month, Charity says: “I want to work in keeping the team together. Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress, and Working together is success.”

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