Next Cohort begins July 31, 2024.

Please email to request a spot for an application and interview session.

Silver Fork is a 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. Participants experience intensive culinary training coupled with personal and professional development, job readiness and career counseling.

What will participants learn?
The seven-week kitchen curriculum includes, knife skills, culinary techniques, food science, sanitation, and food safety. The job readiness curriculum includes soft skills such as cultural competence, conflict resolution, time management, and tips and strategies for seeking employment. Students will test for certifications, including City of Chicago Food Handlers Certificate, Allergan Certification, and BASSET Certification.

What is the schedule?
Classes meet Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 10am-3pm at Center on Halsted. Complete attendance is mandatory for graduation eligibility. Students are expected to attend class and actively participate in all aspects of the learning process. This includes class discussions, written work, and in-class activities.  Make-up days will be available, based on instructors' availability.

Participants must apply to Silver Fork by attending the application sessions. Please call or email questions prior to orientation. 

To set up an appointment to apply, please contact 773-472-6469 and ask for the Silver Fork program or email For more information on the next Silver Fork cohort, please see the 'When is the next Silver Fork class?' section below, towards the bottom of the page.

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 Culinary Training Course
  • Short term (seven-week cohorts)
  • Resume writing support
  • Job search assistance
  • Apprenticeship opportunities
  • Industry certifications
  • Dedication to the dignity of all expressions of human identities, including multicultural and intergenerational
  • Background friendly and welcoming to those in reentry
  • Continued support from the largest LGBTQ-serving community center in the Midwest
  • Understanding of real-life concerns such as housing challenges, recovery issues, and barriers to education and training
  • ServSafe Food Handlers Certification
  • ServSafe Allergens’ Certification
  • Beverage and Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training (BASSET) certification
  • 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.

When is the next Silver Fork class?

Silver Fork will begin planning soon for the next seven-week cohort, starting July 31. If you are interested in learning more and would like to provide your contact information to stay updated, please email us at

Following City of Chicago public health mandates, participants in the program must provide proof of full vaccination to attend the session and the training program. Face masks also must be worn at all times.

Sponsored by City of Chicago ICIJA Grant

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