Posted on February 10, 2022
Tags: , , ,
Categories: News from SDP

FringeArts is pleased to announce CHAMP (Culinary-Hospitality Advancement Mentorship Program), a new mentorship program developed in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia and presented by PECO. The inaugural year of this program consists of chef demonstrations, restaurant visits, internships, and professional development opportunities for over 650 high school students enrolled in the School District’s thirteen Culinary/Hospitality Arts programs. CHAMP launched this week with the first in a series of virtual workshops, and runs through the end of the school year, culminating in a career day and graduation celebration at FringeArts in May.

“CHAMP is an incredible program that aligns with PECO’s workforce development efforts to eliminate barriers for Philadelphia-area high school students and empower them with opportunities for success,” says Romona Riscoe Benson, Director of Corporate and Community Impact at PECO. “As the local hospitality industry is still recovering from the pandemic, we’re excited to support FringeArts and the School District of Philadelphia in a timely program that will cultivate the next generation of culinary talent.”

Like the restaurant industry, the culinary and hospitality programs at CTE have been negatively impacted by the pandemic over the past two years, and CHAMP offers hands-on ways for the students to hone new skills and prepare for the workforce post-graduation. The Philadelphia culinary community has been an enormous supporter of FringeArts through its annual fundraiser FEASTIVAL, and this mentorship program deepens this partnership as they collaborate in a new way to help prepare the next generation of culinary professionals for success.

Participating businesses and organizations include CookNSolo, High Street Hospitality Group, Garces Events, San Pellegrino, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, and more to be announced. Classes will cover everything from knife skills and catering to front- and back-of-house operations, running a one-person business, and more. All February workshops will take place virtually on zoom, with in-class demonstrations commencing in March.

“We are thrilled to participate in CHAMP and help pave the way for these very talented students,” said Mike Solomonov, chef and co-owner of CookNSolo. “We look forward to welcoming them as interns at our restaurants, and hope they see there are so many exciting, rewarding opportunities and positive work environments in the culinary industry here in Philadelphia.”

Virtual workshops and master classes:
Tuesday, February 8: Catering 101 with Laura Fehrle, Regional Director of Garces Events
Wednesday, February 16: Etiquette for the Future Professional with Ben Fileccia, Senior Director of Operations Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association Back of House
Wednesday, February 23: Back of House Operation/Vendor Selection by Nick Durbin, Director of Marketing at Chefs Warehouse
Tuesday, March 8: Building Your Personal Brand: A Roadmap for Marketing Yourself
Wednesday, March 9: Knife Skills by Charles Schmidt OIC, Lead Instructor
Thursday, March 10: The Story of Ms. Dawn’s Catering (Just Another Great Day!) by Dawn Frazier