The RI Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner this week announced that registration is open for a free Cook 1 & 2 instructional course for adults wishing to break into the local culinary scene and work in area restaurants while they hone their skills.

Offered by Westerly Education Center in collaboration with Johnson & Wales University, Royce Associates, and nine restaurants in Rhode Island and Connecticut, the course will provide skills and training as well as job placement for adults starting in January.

The 12-week classroom and in-restaurant instruction will cover culinary theory, cooking methods, knife-cutting, nutrition, product and equipment identification, food safety and more. It is a pass/fail course. Participants will be qualified to take the national ServSafe® Food Handlers and ServSafe ® Allergens exams.

“After the first two weeks of instruction, students will benefit from in-restaurant training so they can practice what they are learning in a real-world setting with professional supervision,” said Thomas J. Delle Donne, assistant dean, Johnson & Wales University, College of Food Innovation & Technology in a statement. “Importantly, students will also be paid for their work while they learn, so this is an ideal training program for an adult who cannot put life on hold for 12 weeks while earning a postsecondary credential needed for work.”

“This workforce training program not only helps people with a passion for food skill up, get credentialed, and land great jobs, it’s a program that will help restaurants in the tourism-reliant southern part of the state employ qualified workers,” said Amy Grzybowski, executive director, Westerly Education Center in a statement.

The Rhode Island and Connecticut restaurants committed to the training, internship and employment of the participants are: Ocean HouseJealous MonkRio SaladoTaquerioDunn’s Corner MarketVetrano’sThe AndreaCasa Della Luce, and The Breachway Grill.

This workforce training program is available free to the participants because funding was made possible by a Real Jobs RI PITCH grant.

To register for the free training, call 401-584-4931 or email Faith.Hanson@riopc.edu.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).