Despite a global health crisis that moved students out of the Open Gate International classroom and kitchen and straight into Zoom training at home, we are preparing OGI Culinary Program students for success.

With the opening of Open Gate Kitchen, our foodservice social venture in Costa Mesa, several graduates are working alongside Chef Cinthia as paid employees to gain real-world experience. They’re dicing, chopping, steaming, grilling and mixing the fresh ingredients that go into the delicious, internationally inspired menu. To ensure that graduates didn’t miss a beat during Zoom training, Chef Cinthia is revisiting key areas of coursework with them, including knife skills, sautéing and more.

In addition to refining culinary skills, students are supported by OGI Executive Director and Life Skills Coach Judy Lamborn, who helps OGI students put her life lessons into on-the-job practice. As Judy directs kitchen traffic and ensures food safety, quality and accuracy, she makes sure the basics of maintaining a positive attitude, teamwork and energy are upheld by all Kitchen staff and current OGI students.

OGI students also receive coaching in resume writing and interview prep, along with job placement assistance throughout our network of food industry and hospitality connections. We are in close contact with these partners as they approach reopening and assess their hiring needs. Until then, we’ll share a couple of notes from our current students:

“Judy has been, for me, a motivation. She’s given me a lot of security through her classes and has helped me to boost my self-esteem when I start to feel weak. I look at myself and say, ‘I can do it!’ and I keep going. All I need is to have a little more security in myself because I don’t think I can work on something like cooking or pastry. I feel like I’m missing a lot more. Thank you very much, Judy, for the opportunity and your teachings. You are a very kind person.”

– Martha, 2020 OGI Culinary Arts Student

“I am a participant in the Open Gate International Program. My experience in the class has been very constructive. I have learned a variety of techniques for food preparation, thanks to Chef Cinthia, whose experience and patience teaches us a variety of international dishes. She invites us to use the senses of taste, smell and textures, and to experiment with different spices, vegetables, meats and fruits. I feel much safer to start a new stage in my life. Thanks, OGI team, for giving me this opportunity!”

– Veronica, 2020 OGI Culinary Arts Student

Be sure to try Open Gate Kitchen for breakfast or lunch! We are located inside The Hood Kitchen at 350 Clinton Street, Suite A, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Visit Open Gate Kitchen now.