Community Kitchen Academy

Community Kitchen Academy (CKA) prepares underemployed and unemployed Vermonters for a career in the food service industry and lifelong learning through an intensive program of culinary skills development, career readiness and job placement. Students actively develop and apply new skills by creating wholesome meals for those at risk of hunger.


Upon graduation, students are well positioned to obtain a job in the food service industry and are ServSafe certified, a recognized food service industry standard. They develop valuable life and professional skills through the program including goal establishment, résumé writing, interviewing skills, conflict management and budgeting.  Additionally, CKA graduates can receive nine college-level academic transfer credits from the Vermont State College of External Programs.  

Vermont Foodbank Community Kitchen Academy  


In addition to the training, CKA performs another important function: rescuing produce, meat and other foods that would otherwise be wasted from grocery stores, restaurants, local farms and food service companies. Students work with instructors to transform this “rescued” food and create meals that are then vacuum sealed, frozen and distributed through food shelves and meal sites. These nutritious, easy to prepare meals bring important and highly desirable food groups like protein, dairy and vegetables into food shelves.

Community Kitchen Academy has been in operation since 2009, first in partnership with the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in Burlington, VT and now also with Capstone Community Action (formerly CVCAC) in Barre, VT.  CKA has graduated 135 students, producing and distributing 224,587 meal serving since 2009. Over 80% of graduates have been successful in finding employment in the culinary industry.

The Vermont Foodbank is looking to engage current and new partners to expand the program to Rutland and Brattleboro within the next three years. 


Prospective Students

To apply to the Community Kitchen Academy, please fill out an application online or by downloading the pdf for the site at which you'd like to study.



Download the application.

Fill out the application online.



Download the application.

Fill out the application online. 



The hands-on instruction and college level academic work required of CKA graduates makes them ideal candidates for a position in the culinary industry. Chef instructors focus on small-group instruction and hands-on training in a variety of essential skills including safe knife handling, managing food allergies, food receiving and storage, preparing nutritious recipes using appropriate portion sizes, equipment identification, and a wide range of cooking methods. The combination of these specialized culinary skills and an integrated life-skills program ensures that students will graduate as certified professionals who are fully qualified and prepared to become valuable employees in the food service industry. Each student completes ServSafe Food Safety training, a nationally recognized food production and storage safety certification program.

Do you have staffing needs?
Contact the CKA chef instructors to find the right employee for your business.

CKA Burlington
Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf
Chef Instructor James Consentino

CKA Barre
Capstone Community Action (formerly CVCAC)
Chef Instructor Jamie Eisenberg

Why should you hire our Culinary Graduates?
Graduate Profile:

  • 13 consecutive weeks of working in a high volume production kitchen — 6 hours of instruction and production daily. Every student utilizes the latest commercial tools and equipment to produce quality entrees and side dishes daily.
  • ServSafe certification training.
  • Extensive knife skills experience.
  • Recipe comprehension, conversion, measurement and execution.
  • Organize mise en place and prioritize production lists.
  • Hands-on knowledge of vegetable cookery, soups, sauces and salad making.
  • Basic meat handling and cooking techniques.
  • Fundamentals of baking.
  • Breakfast, a la carte, and banquet production.
  • Life skills training on how to work in a team, solve problems, and budget resources and time.

  Vermont Foodbank Community Kitchen Academy Employers



Community Kitchen Academy is made possible through the generous support of the Lucy D. Nisbet Charitable Fund, The J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation, Catalyst Kitchens, Fanny Allen Corporation, Richard E. & Deborah L. Tarrant Foundation, Hoehl Family Foundation.  Your contributions also make this program possible.  Please consider giving to the Vermont Foodbank today.

For more information, contact:
Michelle Wallace

Program Director


Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf  Community Kitchen Academy Capstone Community Action (formerly CVCAC)




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