San Francisco CHEFS Program Helps Homeless Learn Job Skills In The Kitchen

At a San Francisco nonprofit, the word 'chefs' stands for Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Service. The culinary program run by the Episcopal Community Services trains homeless and unemployed students so that they can find stable jobs at restaurants across the city.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports groups of 40 homeless people participate in the program at a time -- undergoing an intensive three month training session, before moving on to three month internships.

"I've always loved cooking," said [graduate Steven] McDaniel, "but I never wanted to do it for a job because I always kept it for myself. Once I went to prison, I realized I had to do work I loved."

A recent graduate of the program, McDaniel has now found stable employment making bread and serving brunch at a local restaurant. He is proud to show off his new dental insurance card -- a reminder of everything he accomplished through the CHEFS program.

"They're grateful; you can see it in their faces," [restaurant co-owner David] Lawrence said. "They're happy to be in the kitchen."

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