Cook­ing up suc­cess

Sal­va­tion Army’s culi­nary grad­u­ates aim high

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Wes Bow­ers NEWS-SENTINEL STAFF WRITER

The Sal­va­tion Army’s Hope Har­bor has trained 162 peo­ple in its culi­nary arts pro­gram since 2008, and the six most re­cent grad­u­ates show­cased their skills and tal­ents Tues­day night.

The sec­ond class of 2019 pre­pared roast beef with pan drip­ping gravy, mashed golden Yukon pota­toes with gar­lic roasted sour cream and parme­san, sautéed green beans and spring salad for friends, fam­ily and Sal­va­tion Army staff as their fi­nal pro­duc­tion in the pro­gram.

They were the 24th class to grad­u­ate from the pro­gram since its in­cep­tion in 2008.

“This pro­gram gets to ben­e­fit men and women go­ing back into so­ci­ety,” pro­gram di­rec­tor Barry Crall said. “It gives them the skills and knowl­edge in life to keep on track so they don’t turn back to ad­dic­tion.”

Crall said the pro­gram has a great re­la­tion­ship with sev­eral restau­rants in Lodi, so he was ex­cited that his grad­u­ates will soon be serv­ing up dishes at es­tab­lish­ments such as Rose­wood

and Wine and Roses.

One of those is Jose Grana­dos, who said he was in­spired to cook food by watch­ing his mother. He said she used to make eggs and chorizo, and from an early age, he thought that was some­thing he might want to do as an adult.

“I’m glad to be grad­u­at­ing,” he said. “I’ve en­joyed work­ing here, I’ve learned a lot. My mom al­ways used to cook what I liked, but now I’ve tried new things, and I’ve fallen in love with the culi­nary arts.”

Grana­dos will be mov­ing on to Rose­wood af­ter grad­u­a­tion, while class­mate Audra Crocker will be start­ing a new chap­ter in her life at Wine and Roses.

While the grad­u­ates served a meal of meat, pota­toes and veg­eta­bles, Crocker’s spe­cialty is pas­tries and desserts. She hopes the busi­ness, which serves as one of Lodi’s vis­i­tors’ cen­ters, will em­brace her abil­ity to pre­pare sweets.

Crocker said she has been in­ter­ested in mak­ing pas­tries prior to her en­roll­ment in the culi­nary arts pro­gram, and her grad­u­a­tion Tues­day night was the sec­ond phase of her life and ca­reer.

“I’m ex­cited to be able to work with peo­ple in the in­dus­try,” she said. “I have some ex­pe­ri­ence mak­ing things, and I like to do some­thing edgy and ex­cit­ing. Now I have the op­por­tu­nity to do what I’ve loved to do my whole life, and I’m ex­cited for this next phase.”

Leon Phillips does not have a restau­rant gig lined up yet, but he’s hope­ful one will come to him soon. Raised on his father’s abil­ity to cook bar­be­cue or soul food, he was hop­ing to end up at an es­tab­lish­ment that offers that kind of fare.

“We’ve been learn­ing French cui­sine, but I feel like I can make any kind of food now,” he said. “(Grad­u­at­ing) is a feel­ing I can’t ex­plain. This is a fresh start on life.”

Moises Romero will also be looking for a po­si­tion in a lo­cal kitchen, and hopes to maybe land one in a place that spe­cial­izes in steaks.

“I feel like I’ve ac­com­plished some­thing great, and that I can ac­com­plish any­thing,” he said. “I’m happy I‘m grad­u­at­ing, and I’m happy for ev­ery­body I’ve spent time with in this pro­gram. They’re like fam­ily now, and I hope we all suc­ceed.”

The next culi­nary arts pro­gram will be­gin in Fe­bru­ary, and Crall said he is still ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for the next class, which grad­u­ates in June of 2020.

NEWS-SENTINEL PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY BEA AHBECK

Grad­u­ate Audra Crocker an­nounces she got a job at Wine & Roses to Bill Mo­er­sch, on the Sal­va­tion Army ad­vi­sory board, right, be­fore the Sal­va­tion Army’s Hope Har­bor Culi­nary Arts pro­gram grad­u­a­tion in Lodi on Tues­day.

Grad­u­ate Ed­ward Ochoa, right, gets a con­grat­u­la­tory hug from 2018 grad­u­ate Ale­jan­dro Villa, now ware­house man­ager at Sal­va­tion Army, be­fore the Sal­va­tion Army’s Hope Har­bor Culi­nary Arts pro­gram grad­u­a­tion in Lodi on Tues­day.

BEA AHBECK/NEWS-SENTINEL

Grad­u­ates Jose Grana­dos and Ed­ward Ochoa pose for a pic­ture be­fore the Sal­va­tion Army’s Hope Har­bor Culi­nary Arts pro­gram grad­u­a­tion in Lodi on Tues­day.

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