Root – Lead Chef Intructor

About Root:
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 12 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 off set Root’s reliance on philanthropy. To learn more about Root, please visit:

Position Overview:
The primary responsibility of the Lead Culinary Instructor 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 12-week culinary job training program for youth with barriers to employment.

The Lead Culinary Instructor position is Monday-to-Friday, 8:45 am to 5:15 pm, with occasional evening and weekend commitments. The Lead Culinary Instructor reports to the Program Director with direct mentorship and ongoing support from Root’s Executive Chef.

Role & Responsibilities:
Culinary Instruction & Youth Mentorship –

  • Lead curriculum development and execution for Root’s three-month 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; ensure training rigor while building positive relationships with participating youth 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
  • 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 Executive Chef and Root’s Catering Manager to include ongoing  experiential education via order-fulfillment for Root’s three social enterprises.
  • Work with the Executive 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 Executive Chef.


  • Professional culinary training preferred with proven work experience as a chef, and at least two (2) years of youth development or teaching experience;
  • Interest and comfort in working with low-income individuals from diverse backgrounds;
  • Eager to share knowledge and experience with others;
  • Able to demonstrate patience, empathy, professionalism, and optimism;
  • ServSafe certified and a strong understanding of Food Handler concepts;
  • Ability to think on your feet, problem-solve, and help grow a young organization;
  • Strong leadership skills, oral and written communications, planning and organizational skills;
  • Excellent time management abilities;
  • Ability to work occasional nights and weekends as needed.
  • Preferred ability to communicate in English/Spanish is a plus;

Physical requirements:

  • While performing the duties of this job, the Lead Chef Instructor is regularly required to use hands and fingers to handle or feel. In addition, the Lead Chef Instructor is occasionally required to taste or smell;
  • Push, pull, and lift up to 50lbs on a weekly basis. Be able to reach, bend, stoop and work in a standing position for a long period of time.

Application Instructions: Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to Sam Hunt at
Root via email

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How to apply

Contact: Sam Hunt

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