Pathway from Cook to Chef

Turn Your Love of Cooking into a Job that Pays!

The Social Development Commission offers the ChefStart Culinary Program throughout the year. This program prepares adults with the skills and training to move from just a cook at home to a chef in a commercial kitchen in the food service and hospitality industry.

ChefStart Culinary training is focused on adults who want to take their love of the kitchen to a professional level. This program gives individuals who have had employment challenges, have been incarcerated, are experiencing poverty or other circumstances resulting in difficulty finding employment the opportunity to get on a new path towards success.

Chef John Damico, Culinary Instructor of ChefStart

Chef John Damico, Culinary Instructor of ChefStart

This program is like no other. Students receive daily hands-on culinary practice as they learn basic food safety and culinary skills in an intimate setting from our culinary instructor John Damico, experienced executive chef. We couple culinary skills with a job readiness curriculum to prepare our students for the workplace. Students learn about resume writing, interviewing, dress, telephone etiquette, the do’s and don’ts of social media and more.







Michael Fecker, Chef Mentor of ChefStart

Our unique program provides assistance with job placement, and provides on-going supportive services to students. Students also get the opportunity to be mentored by restaurant owner and experienced Chef Michael Feker, owner of Il Mito, Zesti, and 2 Mesa.

Our program provides:

  • Job Readiness
  • Hands on culinary workshops
  • ServSafe Certification
  • Food Safety procedures
  • Career exploration in Food Services
  • Guest Speakers
  • Proper Cutting techniques
  • Food Services Practicum

Eligibility Requirements

Must be 18 years of age or older and have a high school diploma or equivalency.


If you’ve been holding off on finding out what it takes to make it in the world of cooking, now is your time!

This your time. This is your path.

ChefStart Inquiry Form

1 + 4 =

SDC does not discriminate in its programs, activities, facilities, employment, or educational opportunities on the basis of a
person’s sex, race, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, or disability.

Main Office
1730 West North Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53205

6850 North Teutonia Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53209

Connect With Us