As we look back at 2020, one thing is certain, we never anticipated the year we ended up having. This year has brought challenges and triumphs, and the OGI staff and students worked together brilliantly to overcome any bumps in the road. Through everything the year has to throw at us, we always kept our mission front and center, and championing victorious futures for those in vulnerable life situations guided our year to be one of success and growth.

Thank you to our donors
We couldn’t do anything without our fantastic donors. Through thick and thin—and even a pandemic—our donors kept us going and we couldn’t be more grateful for their incredible generosity.

The move online

From March to September the OGI culinary training program delivered classes virtually, a change for everyone involved. Chef Cinthia trailblazed lessons in both English and Spanish, and Judy Lamborn conducted life skills lessons on how to remain calm in a crisis, reinforcing OGI’s core life skills: Positive Attitude, Time Management and Decision Making. Chef Cinthia was even able to video conference with Chef Nitin from Vision Rescue in Mumbai, India, and Chefs Iulia and Julia from OGI Moldova.

Open Gate Kitchen arrives

In September we celebrated the grand opening of Open Gate Kitchen in Costa Mesa. The restaurant social venture serves up handcrafted healthy, fresh cuisine with an international flare. The menu was imagined by our own incredible Chef Cinthia and is her vision of casual cuisine. The menu includes salad bowls with filling, nutritious ingredients such as choice of protein, quinoa and vegetables. Internationally inspired Korean-style, Mexi-Cali and Mediterranean Customiza-Bowls are personalized with a choice of protein, and lunch options also include Cuban, turkey and tuna paninis, as well as Angus beef burgers. The menu also features protein-packed Eggcellent Bites! Open Gate Kitchen is open for dine-in, delivery and take-out options and daily operations are overseen by OGI graduate and Head Line Cook Fernando Escobar. Be sure to come have a bite with us if you’re in the neighborhood!

2020 graduates

Not only did our 2020 students prevail with online learning, they also made it to graduation day! Our 2020 students have really shown their determination and drive to enter the professional culinary world. They have rolled with the fluctuations of the pandemic, jumping into virtual training and focusing on their studies at home. They didn’t let the obstacles and distractions derail their progress, and we can’t wait to see them continue to succeed both professionally and personally.

While 2020 is wrapping up, we know that some of the challenges we faced this year will continue into 2021, and we’re ready to tackle anything that comes our way. Thanks to our donors, Chef Cinthia, Judy, our staff and students, and everyone who made OGI’s year a success!