When assessing the progress of upcoming restaurants, plywood or butcher paper being ceremoniously removed from the windows is generally a good sign. But the best indication that Claus Meyer’s Brownsville project is finally coming into the home stretch? They just started accepting applications for their culinary school.
Tentatively slated to debut later this fall, it’s the most essential branch of an ambitious complex, which will also include a full service restaurant, a café and bakery, a coffee roastery, a production kitchen and teaching kitchen, and a flexible space to be alternately used as a classroom, demonstration staging area, and community gathering place. In fact, it’s the guiding force of Meyer’s Melting Pot Foundation, an organization that provides tuition-free culinary training to inmates and other marginalized youth, and help securing fulfilling, long-term employment.
The year-long program offers instruction in front-of-house, bake-of-house and baking, from world-class culinary figures at the top of their respective fields. Students will also engage with the community through project-based curriculums, develop business plans for Brownsville-based enterprises, and compete for funding to start their own businesses. All participants receive a food handler’s license, as well as payment for work in the adjunct Brownsville restaurant (serving cuisine inspired by the foods and ingredients of the African Diaspora) after a three-month foundational workshop, to the tune of $10.50 an hour, 24-29 hours a week. And at the end of the program, job placement is 100% guaranteed for graduates.
Another indication of how unique the opportunity is, is that acceptance is in no way based on resumes or test scores. Instead, a recommendation from a community elder is required, who can affectively speak to your character, along with a recommendation from an educator, instructor, or employer, who can speak to your style of work or participation in a group setting. The third and final proviso is a personal essay, explaining why you wish to pursue a career in the culinary arts, and how you would like to use your education to improve your own life and to enrich your community.
Claus Meyer may have wowed the world with Noma, and brought fancy food courts to Grand Central station and rustic Danish baked goods to Williamsburg, but we have a pretty good feeling this will be his most momentous enterprise yet.
Applications can be directed to Jorge Collazo at firstname.lastname@example.org
Calls are also accepted at: 908 956 3151
For more information, visit www.meltingpotfoundation.org