After nearly two months of work, the industrial kitchen renovation at the Creative Work Systems facility on Industrial Park Road in Saco has been completed. Thanks to the generous support of the Walmart Foundation and Maine Community Foundation, CWS was able to upgrade to a kitchen that now features a six-burner professional grade range with an attached griddle and hood, several stainless steel tables on rollers and a full set of restaurant-quality pots and pans.
The Saco kitchen is home to Culinary Works, a CWS Community Services program in York County that teaches participants basic kitchen skills. The program currently prepares a hot lunch every Tuesday and pizza on Fridays for CWS residences. With the new and improved kitchen, however, the Culinary Works program will be expanded to include a more intensive curriculum.
“This kitchen upgrade is a great improvement, and will really let us expand the Culinary Works program. We’ll be able to teach individuals more skills and responsibility, which will also help them develop greater independence,” says Program Manager Kevin Bolduc.
The eventual goal for the renovated kitchen is commercial certification, which will allow the program to prepare products, such as salsa or pesto, for sale to local vendors and the general public. Until then, though, the new kitchen provides participants valuable training that could lead to food-service employment through the CWS Employment Services program.
“The Culinary Works program at CWS not only teaches essential kitchen skills, it also develops valuable marketable skills for potential jobs,” says Jeff McFarren, Director of Community Supports and Employment Services. “Working in an updated industrial kitchen offers vital experience toward achieving that goal.”