Thomas Nelson launches Culinary Arts Program in Williamsburg

January 20, 2017

Thomas Nelson is working with Williamsburg restaurateurs to offer the Peninsula an innovative, new training program designed to introduce the culinary arts to the community, including students aged 18 or over, transitioning and retired military (including spouses and dependents), and career switchers.

ChefsGO 1.0 is a certificate program that combines classroom and kitchen training taught by renowned local chefs, including Chef Hans Schadler of Waypoint Seafood and Grill.

“I am thrilled that so many Williamsburg Area chefs have signed on as instructors,” says Schadler of Waypoint Seafood and Grill, one of the program’s founders. “This confirms that they see the promise of this program and are prepared to invest their time in sharing their expertise in teaching and supervision.”

The program will teach the students the basic fundamentals of a full service restaurant. Students will learn everything from knife skills to preparing sauces and soups, proper kitchen sanitation to food storage and much more. Prior cooking skills and restaurant experience are not required. The comprehensive curriculum covers the knowledge, skills, hands-on experience, and certification needed to qualify for employment in the region’s top restaurants.

“This new program will help local restaurants significantly,” says Adam Steely of The Blue Talon. “Hiring and retaining personnel is the key issue for restaurateurs. We need trained and motivated staff to achieve a consistently excellent product.”

The community is behind the program and excited to train new chefs. The Economic Development Authorities of James City County and the City of Williamsburg are each contributing $5,000 to fund the program. In addition the Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association is supporting the program through scholarships.

“For the spring 2017 ChefsGO class, the Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association (WARA) will offer a $1,000 scholarship for one applicant from each of the four high schools in the Greater Williamsburg area, Bruton, Jamestown, Warhill and Lafayette,” stated Kevin Early of WARA. “In case an applicant is not available from one of the schools a GED candidate will be interviewed for the scholarship.”

The final mandatory orientation for the program will be held Tuesday, Jan. 24, from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Thomas Nelson Workforce Development Center at 4135 Ironbound Road, on the second floor in Williamsburg.

For more information visit tncc.edu/programs/culinary-arts or call 757-825-2937.