Community Kitchen Academy has been in operation since 2009, first in partnership with the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in Burlington and now also with Capstone Community Action (formerly CVCAC) in Barre.

We recently surveyed past graduates to see how the program had impacted their life. Here’s an infographic based on their responses. Direct quotes are further down below in the blog post.

Community Kitchen Academy

Community Kitchen Academy

Community Kitchen Academy

Community Kitchen Academy

Quotes from Community Kitchen Academy Graduates

Higher Education

“CKA has made a very big impact on my life in many ways—physically, mentally and emotionally. Before I started CKA, I thought it was going to teach me how to be a better cook. While I did gain those skills, I also gained much, much more. The program has also allowed me to pursue going back to school and furthering my education, something that I have wanted to do for so long but was never able to do. The relationships I have made are also positive ones for me and I feel like I have an extended family, as we look out for one another. I am truly happy and felling accomplished for once in my life.”

“CKA taught me kitchen skills. Skills I will need when I go to NECI.”

“CKA has helped me to make the decision to go back to school.”

Life Skills

“CKA has had a very big impact on my life by teaching me an array of new skills including communication, knife skills and so on.”

“I learned how to react as a team player. I learned cooking techniques so I could support a healthier lifestyle and I’m eating better.”

“The best thing about CKA was working with a team, learning how to prepare food successfully and eating better.”

Health and Nutrition

“After CKA, I can cook food that’s healthy, eat better and cook with fruits and vegetables.”

“I cook way more at home and do not eat out so much anymore.”

“I know now what to do with the food that we get from the food shelves and how to prepare healthier meals for my family.”

“We buy less take-out and now cook meals.”

Big Life Improvements

“It has been a big step and great accomplishment – one of the best decisions of my life. Thank you for giving me a second chance, for choosing me, for investing in me, giving me more hope and a sense of worth.”

“CKA helped me to get ready for the real world workplace after being away for so long and how if you have good people behind you, you can do anything.”

“Chef Jamie and Chef Dave were great teachers. They taught me how to be successful!”


“CKA helped me have confidence in myself.”

“I am able to have pride in any kitchen, including at home, and being able to produce amazing food is priceless.”

“CKA has impacted my life physically, mentally and emotionally. I have gained many life skills, career-building skills, knife skills and made positive relationships. CKA also helped build my self-esteem/confidence in all areas.”

“It has given me the skills to find a good job. CKA has shown me how to speak up for myself and be more confident. CKA has shown me how to make great healthy food.”

Network of Support

“The best thing about CKA is the knowledge that the chefs are willing to back you up and help you in the real world and not only in the workplace.”

“The network that comes from this program is truly awesome.”


Community Kitchen Academy (CKA) prepares underemployed and unemployed Vermonters for careers in the food service industry, while rescuing and preparing food for distribution to food shelves and meal sites.

Additionally, CKA graduates can receive nine college-level academic transfer credits from the Vermont State College of External Programs.

Learn more about CKA.