Photo Caption: Chef Cinthia in the kitchen with students in February, 2020. 

After months of waiting, uncertainty and figuring out online training during COVID-19 restrictions, OGI culinary students are back to learning, masked face to masked face.

Since February, when the pandemic forced us all to work and learn from home, OGI Culinary Program students have endured all new challenges to realizing their dreams of working in the culinary industry. They stuck with online training, making the most of what our Executive Chef, Chef Cinthia and Executive Director Judy Lamborn could teach through a camera lens, and completed assignments by sending pictures of their creations.

Now, they’re hitting the training hard to make up for the invaluable experience only time spent in the kitchen affords—all with extra precautionary measures in place to protect the students and OGI staff. In addition to requiring students to have their temperature checked and sanitize their hands before entering the classroom/kitchen, here are our new protocols:

  • Class size limited to 7 students
  • Frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing enforced
  • Frequent and thorough disinfecting of high traffic areas
  • Mandatory facial shields and masks coverings
  • Individual work only (no partner work)
  • Workstations spaced 6 feet apart
  • Each student cleans each dish immediately after use

It’s definitely different, but the enthusiasm and energy are running high! Students are soaking up the chance to watch Chef Cinthia work her culinary artistry and skills in real time as she preps ingredients, oversees quality control and creates the delicious food customers of Open Gate Kitchen crave.

And of course, Judy is busy putting students through their life skills paces, reviewing key points in the curriculum that address conflict resolution, teamwork and positive attitude (by the way, you can learn some of Judy’s invaluable advice by heading to our “life skills” blogs).

We are so proud of these students, who remained determined, resilient and took the life skills they were in the process of learning and applied them during the unexpected challenges COVID-19 threw at them.

Now back on track, the timeline to complete this session is Sept 15–Oct 29 with a virtual (but very real) graduation on October 30! With culinary certificate in hand, each student will do a 3-week rotation in Open Gate Kitchen to complete their curriculum. After that, they will receive coaching in resume prep, interviewing and applying for jobs so they’ll the best possible knowledge and experience to pursue their paths into the culinary industry. 2020 can’t keep this class down!