Please note that Silver Fork will be modifying its class structure for the rest of 2020. Please see ‘When is the next Silver Fork Cohort 30 Class’ section for more details.

What is Silver Fork?
Silver Fork is a 9 week culinary arts and job readiness program hosted by Center on Halsted. It is ideal for adults who want to enter or re-enter the hospitality industry and experience a fresh outlook on their career potential. Participants experience nine to twelve weeks of intensive culinary training coupled with Front of the House training, personal and professional development, job readiness and career counseling.

What will participants learn?
The kitchen curriculum includes knife skills, mother sauces, cooking techniques, food safety, understanding how to season and taste food, and tips and strategies for working in professional kitchens. The job readiness curriculum includes soft skills such as cultural competence, conflict resolution, time management, and tips and strategies for seeking employment. The sanitation curriculum offers the opportunity to receive your Food Service Sanitation Managers Certification, and BASSET certificate.

What is the schedule?
Most weeks classes meet Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. However, schedule will differ dependent on national holidays, availability of guest chefs, fieldtrips, or any other issues. Students will be given a schedule and are expected to be in class every day. Full attendance is required to graduate from the program.

Participants must apply to Silver Fork by attending the application workshops. Participants must attend one of the two orientation days listed for the desired cohort. Please call or email questions prior to orientation. To set up an appointment to apply, please contact 773-472-6469 and ask for Silver Fork or

How much does Silver Fork cost?
Silver Fork is FREE of charge to ALL participants.

Who can apply?
Anyone who wants to take their life to the next level through sustained, gainful employment in the hospitality industry and is:
  • 18 years or older
  • Resident of Chicago
  • Low income
  • Member or ally of the LGBTQ community
  • Ready and determined to put in the work necessary to take control of their life and finances

  • FREE
  • Short term (9 – 12 weeks)
  • Students receive a $200 stipend upon completion of the first 30 days of eligible work and fill out appropriate paperwork
  • Dedicated to the dignity of all expressions of human identities
  • Background friendly and welcoming to those in reentry
  • Part of Center on Halsted and has prioritized access to Center facilities and resources
  • Understanding of real-life concerns such as housing challenges, recovery issues, and barriers to education and training
  • Multicultural and intergenerational
  • State of Illinois and City of Chicago Food Service Sanitation Manager class and test
  • Beverage and Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training (BASSET) test
  • Professional resume writing assistance
  • Opportunity to interact and engage food industry professionals
  • Assistance in job search upon graduation

Since it started 2011, Silver Fork has graduated approximately 350 culinarians with an employment success rate of 75- 80%. Silver Fork working alumni include culinarians with felony backgrounds, who have faced unstable housing, who did not finish high school, in recovery, who are gender fluid, gender diverse, LGBTQ and people of all ages and races.

For more information about the upcoming sessions, please contact 773-472-6469 and ask for Silver Fork or

When is the next Silver Fork class?

In following safety standards set forth by local and state officials, the Silver Fork Program will be offering a modified 6-week program with a maximum class size of 9 students. Students will still experience the same amount of hands-on practical kitchen curriculum mentioned above, as well as have the opportunity to earn their Food Handlers Certification, BASSET certification, and receive resume writing assistance and interview training.

Silver Fork remains committed to the safety of their staff and students. Daily temperature checks will be taken as well as providing all PPE if needed.

Application workshops for Cohort 31 will be Tuesday, September 8th and Wednesday, September 9th from 10:00-3:00. 30-minute time slots will be available starting at 10:00 am, and a reservation can be made by emailing or calling the Silver Fork Program. Please arrive 15 minutes before your time slot to fill out application form. If no reservation is made the application process will be on a first come, first serve basis. Please bring a photo ID and wear a face mask.

Orientation and enrollment will take place on Friday, September 11th. All classes will be Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 10:00am-3:00pm; Beginning September 15th and ending October 22nd.

Sponsored by HUD

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