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The Doe Fund Mixes Compassion with Kitchen Training

Grub Street

Green, who's rarely without a Yankees cap, is a line cook at Pondicheri, the Indian café & restaurant in the Flatiron District.  He's been there since November & is an important part of the team - even though he didn't consider a career in food until after serving 15 years in federal prison.  

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With no roof over his head, and no other choice, he moved to a shelter.  That's when he first heard about the Doe Fund, a nonprofit that provides transitional work, housing & educational opportunities to people with histories of incarceration, homelessness & substance abuse.  Green was assigned a job at the Doe Fund, as all residents are, the day he moved in.  "Ironically," he says, "they put me to work in the kitchen...At first, it was just something to do, to keep me busy & out of trouble," he says.  "But I like cooking. I like feeding people."  
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The Doe Fund's Chef-in-Training program is an eight-week, hands-on course that teaches students to work on a New York City restaurant's line.  Cooking, Green says, "didn't have a purpose until Chef-in-Training -- that changed everything."

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Photo courtesy of Grub Street: M. Cooper