Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Services

CHEFS (Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Services) is a culinary training program that provides instruction in technical and professional skills enhancement necessary for entry into the food service industry. Students are provided with classroom instruction, in-kitchen hands-on training and an internship at a local restaurant or institutional kitchen setting.

Students earn their Food Handlers Certification and spend eight weeks in the kitchen learning their craft, station by station until they have mastered the skills to run the kitchen themselves. The final phase of the program is an Employment Audition with an external food service business or restaurant with the goal to secure permanent employment. The program offers opportunities to earn a weekly stipend while gaining skills.

Who is qualified to become a CHEFS student?

Individuals qualify if they live:
• On the street
• In a shelter
• In transitional housing
• In a residential treatment program
• In a supportive housing building
• Meet HUD (Housing and Urban Development) definition of extreme low income

Click HERE to see Albert's story.

Interested in CHEFS Catering?

To hire CHEFS for your next event, contact Edward Varley or call (925) 324-0643.


Local chefs and restaurateurs provide a tremendous amount of support for the program by opening their kitchens to CHEFS interns or volunteering time as guest instructors. Below is a sampling of the many professionals donating to CHEFS.

Michael Bauer of the SF Chronicle Food Critic and Guest Judge
Marlene Sorosky Gray Introduction to Taste/Salad
Bob Helstrom of Kuleto's Meat/Restaurant Careers
David Lawrence of 1300 on Fillmore   New Soul Food
Laurie MacKenzie of Mission Pie Cafe Mexican Cuisine
Tim Felkner of Vigilante Hospitality Restaurant Operations
Preeti Mistry of Juhu Beach Club Kitchen Culture
Sharon Nahm of E & O Asian Kitchen Appetizers

California Climate Investments tagline

ECS recently acquired a new van to help us recover food, produce meals, and deliver these meals to our most vulnerable clients.

The increased cargo space in the new van will allow for staff to effectively pick up food and deliver meals to clients, from guests at our Shelter-in-Place hotels to clients at the Canon Kip Senior Center, who count on ECS for a healthy, nourishing meal.

Funded by a grant from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) through California Climate Investments.


CalRecycle logo
new ECS van

To learn more about ECS' Workforce Development and Social Enterprise programs, please contact:

Director of Workforce Development & Social Enterprise
Jason Pruett
(415) 487-3300 x6111