Root – Chef Educator

Root’s mission is to provide youth, ages 16 to 26, with a pathway to employment and financial independence. Through developing life and work readiness skills, youth leave Root prepared for success in the workplace.

Founded in 2016, Root is a 501(c)-3 non-profit organization that uses the culinary arts as a tool for teaching workforce readiness and life skills to low-income youth in Essex County with barriers to employment. Root’s 14 week, 240-hour program of direct kitchen and classroom training helps young people transform their lives and futures through technical and experiential education, leading to employment and financial self-sufficiency. Core to Root’s model are three social enterprises – the Root Cafe, Catering by Root, and the HarborPoint event space on Salem Harbor – all of which provide experiential education and employment opportunities, as well as income that offset Root’s reliance on philanthropy. In addition, in March 2020, Root launched our Community Catering initiative to expand employment and continued skill development to Root youth graduates and help address food insecurity in Essex County with freshly prepared meals for those in need. To learn more about Root, please visit: www.rootns.org.

At the heart of Root’s mission and all we do are our organizational core values:

  • Youth-First is our “North Star”. As an organization and as a team, Root leads with the interests of youth in our programs and our enterprises. In order to prioritize young people, we create opportunities for youth to influence our work and their experience.
  • Hands-on Skill Development Differentiates Our Graduates & Empowers Them. We believe hands-on skill development is the most effective approach to job training. Providing youth with practical tools through our enterprises empowers them in the face of systemic marginalization.
  • Team Transcends Individual and Collaboration Leverages our Individual Efforts. By working together and with our partners, we believe we serve youth and Root’s mission most effectively.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Strengthens Us. We acknowledge, respect, and embrace the differences within one another and the communities we serve.
  • Big Success is a Series of Small Wins. We meet youth where they are and celebrate their individual victories as steps on their path to success.

Position Overview:
The primary responsibility of the Chef Educator is to ensure that participating youth Trainees leave Root with the hard skills necessary to succeed in an entry or mid-level food service job. This role requires a combination of culinary expertise, teaching skills, and a passion for mentoring others. S/he will work closely with the youth program team and will hold a leadership role within a comprehensive 14-week culinary job training program for youth with barriers to employment.

The Chef Educator position is a part-time role, Monday-to-Friday, approximately 25 hours per week with occasional evening and weekend commitments.  The Chef Educator reports to the Director of Programs and collaborates with a peer Chef Educator, as well as with members of Root’s youth program team. 

Role & Responsibilities:
Culinary Instruction & Youth Mentorship – 

  • Collaborate on curriculum development and execution for Root’s job training program, including learning objectives, full and small group instruction, and corresponding assessment.
  • Lead daily instruction of food preparation and safety utilizing the National Restaurant Association curriculum. Content includes, but is not limited to: safety & respect, knife skills, equipment knowledge, Mise en Place, recipe management, food flow, time vs. temperature, sauces, leaveners, time management, food budgeting, and cleaning procedures. 
  • Adapt lessons to meet the individual needs and abilities of youth with barriers to employment, ensuring training rigor while building positive relationships with Trainees in order to provide a safe and supportive learning environment. 
  • Supervise and manage Root’s culinary classroom, a professional-grade teaching kitchen located within Root’s 6,000 sq. ft. training facility in Salem, Massachusetts. The kitchen is equipped with a large cooking range, ovens, hood ventilation, fire suppression system, commercial grade equipment and custom work surfaces for training and production, and walk-in refrigeration units. 
  • Collaborate with Root staff  to introduce, reinforce, and test ServSafe concepts and ensure all Trainees pass ServSafe Food Handler and Allergen Awareness. 
  • Engage volunteer guest chefs and Root’s employment partners to ensure a variety of learning opportunities and industry exposure. 

Experiential Education & Enterprise Collaboration – 

  • Collaborate with Root’s Head Chef to include ongoing experiential education via order-fulfillment for Root’s three social enterprises. 
  • Collaborate with fellow Chef Educator and Head Chef to ensure all necessary ordering, storage, and inventory for instructional needs and enterprise fulfillment. 
  • Lead Trainees in planning, preparing, and executing a quarterly youth-led dinner series. 

Program Tracking & Youth Assessment – 

  • Work with the youth program team to develop and implement assessment tools to track Trainee growth in hard and soft skill development. 
  • Participate in ongoing youth program and advising meetings to ensure all youth Trainees are equally challenged and supported in their individual development at Root. 
  • Work to ensure program effectiveness through ongoing evaluation and continuous improvement in collaboration with the Program Director and peer Chef Educator. 

Qualifications: 

  • Professional culinary training preferred with proven work experience as a chef
  • At least two (2) years of youth development or teaching experience required
  • Interest and comfort in working with low-income individuals from diverse backgrounds.
  • ServSafe Certified and a strong understanding of ServSafe Manager concepts. 

Qualifications (continued): 

  • Ability to problem-solve and help take an organization to the next level.
  • Eager to share your knowledge with others
  • Able to demonstrate patience, empathy, professionalism, and optimism
  • Strong leadership skills, oral and written communications, and organizational skills.
  • Excellent time management abilities
  • Ability to work occasional nights and weekends as needed. 
  • Bilingual English/Spanish is a plus 

Working Conditions & Physical Requirements: Ability to lift 20 pounds; physical, visual and hearing acuity to perform job-related functions; evenings and weekend hours sometimes required; and local travel sometimes required.

Application Instructions: Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to Sara D’Alessandro, Director of Programs, via the email address below. 

The youth and communities served by Root are diverse, and we aspire to reflect that diversity in our staff. Root strives to have the most diverse applicant pool possible; to that end, we encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply for any position at Root. By fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, we seek to provide the best training experience and employment environment for Root Trainees and alumni, and ensure they are prepared to succeed in the 21st century workplace.

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How to apply

Email: sdalessandro@rootns.org

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