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Achieving new heights: July’s training has led to our trainees growing in skill and confidence

July was a busy month for our team. In the kitchen, we wrapped up our culinary basics with meats and pastries thanks to the help of this months Volunteer chef trainers; and outside of the Kitchen we worked on professionalism, public speaking, wrote CV’s, practiced our interview techniques, and our first two trainees went to their first job interviews! Read more to learn about this month’s highlights...

Meat weeks: Proteins, white and dark meats, and animal anatomy

Together with our Chef Trainer Alessia our trainees took a deep dive into proteins, white and dark meat, how to source and control quality, and animal anatomy. With our Culinary Director, Jessica, they learned how to work with tougher cuts and explored braising techniques. We also celebrated Mercy’s birthday!

A surprise visit from RAI News

Last month, our Culinary Director, Jessica, was named the Female Chef of the Year by Guida dell’Espresso, and so RAI news visited our class to tell not only her story, but also to hear straight from AIW’s trainees about their hopes for the future in the hospitality industry.

CV Writing and Practice Interviewing

Outside of the classroom, our volunteer Skill Builders Rebecca and Chloe led our trainees in a day-long workshop on how to develop a CV that works for them- writing a personal statement and highlighting life skills as well as nontraditional work experience. In our interview class we practiced replies in English and Italian, breathing techniques, and other tips and tricks so that our trainees could feel confident and comfortable as they get closer to the workforce.

Presenting your best self with public speaking and professionalism techniques

With our volunteer Skill Builder, Stéphan, led our trainees in a workshop on public speaking, understanding their audience to convey the story they want to tell, and not forgetting to take time to manage stress and let go of fears, helped by the Japanese ritual of oshibori. Each trainee had the creative challenge to develop their short and high impact presentation and practice recording themselves in front of a camera.

Back in the classroom, our volunteer Skill Builder, Helen, led our trainees in a course on professionalism, and representing their best selves in professional settings. We discussed how to decide what is urgent and important, the importance of body language, and wrote letters to our future selves.


For pastry week, we were joined by two talented volunteer pastry chefs Mirko Galloni and Luca Balboni, who taught our trainees the basics like creams, panna cotta, tiramisu, savoiardi pie and pastry crusts, cakes and icing, tartellette alla frutta, creme caramel and merengue. We also celebrated the last day of our Program Development intern, Susanna, with a special cake decorated by our trainees!

Cena di Comunità with Caritas and Food for Soul

Two of our trainees were selected to join as guest chefs in the kitchen for a local community event hosted by Caritas Modenese and Food for Soul, the “Community Meal.” Charity and Mercy cooked alongside Alessia with the challenge of taking recovered ingredients and producing a three course dinner for forty guests, so the team developed a Nigerian and Ghanaian-inspired interpretation of the ingredients that they had available, testing their creativity, no-waste skills, and organization and time management during a busy service.

Sharing Nigerian and Ghanaian food culture with our community

Core to our approach is demonstrating the Cultural Capital of Modena's newcomers through sharing new traditions, stories, and flavors. We wrapped up the month exploring Nigerian and Ghanaian flavors and recipes, and challenging our trainees to develop, prepare, and serve a menu for our guests.

Teambuilding with Donne Nel Mondo ODV

We finished up our July curriculum, inviting our community partners, Donne nel Mondo ODV, a grass-roots non-profit dedicated to fighting racism through multi-cultural appreciation in Modena, to lead a dynamic workshop with the purpose of having fun and feeling confident, while building relationship and teamwork skills. It was a great way to end our July programming and head into the summer holidays before our last month of the Culinary Training Program!

New milestones: ROOTS is becoming a reality

The AIW has been working hard to be able to expand our impact, providing training to 16 women each year and opening the first social restaurant in Modena dedicated to showcasing the cultural value Modena’s newcomers bring to our society. This month we met the major milestones of signing our lease for the space that the City of Modena assigned to us and opening our Social Enterprise, cooperative, ROOTS! You can read more about ROOTS in the write-ups by the Modena Gazzette and Resto del Carlino on our press page here.

We still need your support to make ROOTS a reality! To learn more about the project and how you can get involved contact us at or make a free donation at our website:

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