Building Skills & Community in the GO SouthSide Kitchen

The Green Opportunities (GO) Kitchen Ready (KR) program started its newest training cycle August 10th. KR links low-income individuals to employment opportunities in Asheville’s growing restaurant and food industries by addressing their barriers to employment (including limited work experience, criminal backgrounds, lack of access to education and child care, and lack of transportation) and providing a 14-week intensive culinary arts training, which includes instruction in proper sanitation, knife skills, restaurant service and cooking fundamentals. Students also earn critical industry-recognized credentials, like the ServSafe© food handling certificate from the National Restaurant Association.

Otis Flowers - twitter

Current KR student Otis Flowers earned his ServSafe certificate on August 13th.

During their first week of technical training, 15 students were gathered around a large stainless steel island in the state-of-the-art commercial kitchen located in the Edington Center. During the KR training program, students will learn a wide range of professional food skills, from julienning to chiffonade, to blanching and shocking food, to professional table service. KR students begin their technical training in knife skills. Reflecting on her first few weeks of training, KR student Brandi remarked that while learning new knife skills was a challenge for her, she had discovered that she loved working with customers in the front of house.



Kitchen Ready students in our current training cycle practice the julienne technique using potatoes.


Students also get on-the-job training by serving community lunches every Monday through Thursday at the Edington Center. These donation-based lunches provide free, fresh, healthy three course meals for the residents of the surrounding Southside neighborhood—a food desert—and allow a real life training experience for KR ready students as they prepare, plate and serve 50 to 100 community members a day. When available, fresh produce harvested by students, staff and volunteers from the on-site SouthSide Community Garden is incorporated into lunches.


Sweet and hot peppers harvested last Friday in the SouthSide Community Garden.


Students and graduates of the program also have the opportunity to earn money and work experience through SouthSide Kitchen, the social enterprise of KR. SouthSide Kitchen provides private catering and contracts food services with local businesses, such as preparing foods for the French Broad Food Co-Op’s hot breakfast bar six days a week.  If you’ve eaten the scratch made biscuits, tofu scramble or sweet potato hash at the Co-Op’s breakfast bar, you’ve eaten with GO!



Community lunches are served in our donation-based restaurant operated by GO-Kitchen Ready students.


All community members are invited to schedule a tour of the Edington Center and stay for GO’s donation-based lunch, or join us for our Pop-Up Dinners this fall. These dinners provide formal dining training for our KR students. Email to take a tour and reserve your place at our community table!