On Friday, October 24th, the fourth session of Community Kitchen Academy graduated. Jacob Renfrew gave the student graduation speech and the Skinny Pancake’s Chris Benjamin gave the keynote address.

Here we’ve include a transcript of the speeches:

Jacob Renfrew

CKA Graduate

I’d like to begin by thanking you all for being here today.

When I first signed up for this class, I didn’t know quite what to expect. I did know that I was searching for a new path in life, and had a feeling that this program might be able to point me in the right direction. I’d been interested in cooking and baking for years, but never thought that I could do it at the professional level. It feels really good to admit that I was wrong about that.

The past thirteen weeks have been an incredible and highly rewarding experience for me. Not only have I learned far more about the food service industry than I expected to, but I’ve learned a lot of new and positive things about myself as well. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ve become a very much improved, and more confident person during my time at the Community Kitchen.

Most of the credit for that must be given to my amazing chef instructors: Jamie Eisenberg and David Moyer. No speech in the world could put into words just how grateful I am for their hard work, guidance, and all that they’ve done for me. Chef Jamie has been patient, supportive, encouraging, and completely invested in my education and future success. I wouldn’t be standing here right now if she hadn’t challenged me to set aside my fears and achieve more than I thought was possible.

What I want to make clear, though, is how much of a real team effort these past thirteen weeks have been. I’m fortunate to have worked and learned alongside a group of talented individuals that I’ve grown truly fond of. We’ve gone through ups and downs, successes and failures, and everything in between together, but I honestly believe that we’ve become better and stronger people for having done so. They’ve worked really hard to get here today, and I want them to know how much I respect them, and how much I’ve appreciated their friendship. I wish them all the best.

In closing, I’d once again like to thank Chef Jamie and Chef Dave for giving me this truly amazing opportunity to learn and improve the quality of my life. I’ll never forget it. I’d also like to thank my classmates for all of the fun and memorable experiences that we’ve shared as a group. I’ll de