Food Shift Kitchen Provides Bright Futures with Food Service Training

Maryam Nasirova Pamela (left) and Chef Terrell Brunet team up in the Food Shift Kitchen.

 

The Food Shift Kitchen (TFSK), based at Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), is a non-profit social enterprise that is reducing squandered produce, creating nutritious meals for the community and providing job training and employment to APC residents. 

About a year ago, TFSK’s Founder and Director, Dana Frasz, connected with APC to discuss how they could make use of their under-utilized commercial kitchen and provide value to their community. Together they settled on a win-win solution.

“Food is an important component of self-sufficiency,” said APC Executive Director Doug Biggs. “But food alone cannot lead to success, people also need job skills.” Because APC’s goal is to help individuals gain work-ready skills and become self-sufficient, their partnership with TFSK was a no-brainer.

The kitchen receives food from Imperfect Produce, St. Vincent De Paul and the Alameda Food Bank. They currently make soups every week, so the food bank, which is right across the street, can distribute them Thursday morning. TFSK is offering their soups as part of a pilot program and are actively seeking contracts for their food service and outlets where they can sell their products.

Each 32 oz. soup contains fresh ingredients, roasted vegetables and lots of love from the volunteers and apprentices. The soup recipes are created by the chef and culinary educator, Terrell Brunet. He would describe the organization as “building an infrastructure that helps people in many ways, more than just cooking.”

Pamela, who is in her second week of apprenticeship, said she has enjoyed the program. “This is a reality I have actually experienced. I am proud of how everything has come together. The concept of utilizing food that is disposed of that is perfectly usable as any other food I think is wonderful and very important.”

TFSK’s soup has been enjoyed by a worker at the food bank, Janette, who says she has been feeding her sick daughter the warmed up soup. She also uses it as sauce for her spaghetti with mushrooms.

According to Frasz, this vision and its impact exists and is possible because an entire ecosystem of players are working together, building trust and contributing what skills and resources they have. “This is a dream come true and a program that is creating valuable impact. It’s only possible with community support and everyone working together.”

Volunteers have played a critical role in keeping the kitchen cooking and volunteers are still needed each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. TFSK needs donations of any kind to help: kitchen supplies, produce, economic contributions, oils, spices, ingredients, etc. Their goal as a social enterprise is to generate revenue from the sale of their products to allow them to recover more food, feed more people and provide more jobs for people with barriers to employment. 

TFSK is seeking contracts with grocers, cafeterias, companies, after-school programs, senior centers and more.

Contact info@foodshift.net and find out more at www.foodshift.net.

 

 

Maryam Nasirova is an Alameda Sun intern. Send comments on this story to editor@alamedasun.com.