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Germaine’s Kitchen and Café

At the heart of our Food Response Network is Germaine’s Kitchen and Café (GKC). GKC offers a 16-week culinary workforce development program for adults with barriers to employment, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). We have cultivated a space that allows them to grow their skill sets and gives them confidence to reach personal and vocational goals. In addition, our students serve hot meals to neighbors in need of access to nutritious food as a part of  the Hot meals for Unhoused Neighbors initiative.

Our culinary workforce development program and hot meals initiative

Sustaining our community through access to fresh food, job skills training and hot nutritious meals

Our culinary workforce development program

Welcome to Germaine’s Kitchen Café, a Culinary Arts program of Catholic Charities Oregon. Here, our program delivers a variety of essential skills helping our students and participants on a path to success in a professional kitchen or foodservice operation. Our program offers in-class instruction on the fundamentals and foundations of cooking along with the very important job/life skills and hands-on learning in just 16 weeks.

Our program is pace based to accommodate all the different learning styles, abilities and practices of our students, allowing them to grow their skill sets and giving them confidence to reach personal goals.

As a part of our program, our students prepare hot meals for our unhoused neighbors in Southeast Portland.

Hot Meals for Unhoused Neighbors is an initiative that focuses on food preparation and distribution efforts to feed those who are experiencing homelessness and/or food insecurity. As part of that initiative, Catholic Charities of Oregon provides approximately 350 meals a week for unhoused neighbors in Southeast Portland.

If you need food assistance, please contact us here.

Apply now for culinary training at Germaine’s Kitchen and Café!

Germaine’s offers a 16-week paced, individualized culinary training program. Students will develop job readiness and the teamwork skills needed to work in food service or a related field. The program includes hands-on training and one-on-one support in a newly-remodeled commercial kitchen in SE Portland.

Germaine’s Kitchen and Café provides specialized learning opportunities for people with a range of learning abilities. Students learn skills for success at work and in the community.

Students gain the following core competencies in a professional kitchen setting:

  • Customer Service
  • Time Management
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Teamwork
  • Food Safety
  • Culinary Knowledge and Skills
  • Kitchen Math
  • Knife Skills
  • Equipment Knowledge

Classes are Tuesdays through Fridays, 9 am to 2:30 pm

Upcoming sessions:

Fall 2023: September 11, 2023

Winter 2024: February 12, 2024

For more information and a tour, contact Kelsey Allan at kallan@ccoregon.org 

Interested in applying? Visit our Contact Page, and fill out your contact info along with a brief message about your interest in the program.


National Volunteer Month: Volunteer, an Army veteran, stands out because of her dedication

Posted By | Catholic Charities Communications
Rock stars normally earn fame with sharp vocals or shredding on an electric guitar so loudly that it peels the paint off houses. Renatta Robertson is a rock star volunteer at Germaine’s Kitchen and Café whose tools include sharp knives, graters and peelers for vegetables. But her main implement is passion for service and feeding…

National Intern Day: Meet Marta Williams

Posted By | Raeann Boero, Communications Coordinator
Marta Williams, Catholic Charities of Oregon’s (CCO) new intern for Germaine’s Kitchen and Café (GKC), shares her passion for supplying fresh and healthy foods to those who need it most and why she loves working with CCO. “My goal is literally to feed the hungry of Portland…You may never be able to cure houselessness or…

The Oregonian: Germaine's Marketplace: Improving Food Access in Oregon

Posted By | Raeann Boero, Communications Coordinator

National Catholic Register: Portland Catholic Charities Chef Jon Wirtis — and a Recipe for Tortilla Lasagna

Posted By | Raeann Boero, Communications Coordinator
Hear the story behind the Executive Chef and Lead Instructor of Germaine’s Kitchen and Café, Jon Wirtis. A Californian native, Chef Jon Wirtis always had a heart for cooking. Starting out in his father’s restaurant, Chef Jon worked his way up in the culinary world. Chef Jon believes in the power of food: to help,…