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GRCC, City of Grand Rapids partner to host special training to prepare area chefs to help after disasters

Nov. 8, 2021 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. When the rubble and dust settle after a disaster, area chefs will be ready to step up to help through special training hosted by Grand Rapids Community College’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education and the City of Grand Rapids.

Chefs from area hotels, restaurants and hospitals will join GRCC instructors for Chef Relief Training on Nov. 22 and 23.

Famed chef José Andrés, founder of the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, launched the intensive training course this year to prepare chefs to safely and effectively provide meals for their communities after a disaster. 

Werner Absenger, program director for the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, notes that the course is based on World Central Kitchen’s real-world experience in the aftermath of countless manmade and natural disasters.

“The WCK training will help us prepare for events that hopefully will never happen,” Absenger said. “But should it, we will have a solid plan in place to provide food to aid first responders and the community in dealing with the aftermath of disaster and minimizing its deleterious effects.”

Allison Farole, Grand Rapids’ emergency management administrator, said the training, which GRCC is providing for free, gives the city an important resource.

“I am excited to see this partnership established to help build resilience in our community and ensure we are setting up local chefs and our hospitality industry up for success to recover from any disaster,” she said. 

The chefs participating in the training will practice what they learn, sharing the results with GRCC’s Student Food Pantry. 

“We at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education are super geeked to collaborate with the city of Grand Rapids,” Absenger said. “Thank you to Doug Matthews and Allison Farole for helping to bring leaders from the city, local chefs and GRCC faculty and staff together for this important training.”

The chefs participating in the training will practice what they learn, sharing the results with GRCC’s Student Food Pantry. 

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