Nonprofit focuses on kitchen, life skills
Chris Wadsworth may have stepped down recently as executive chef of Restaurant IPO, but he is staying in downtown Baton Rouge.
Wadsworth told the Downtown Development District commissioners Tuesday about his next project, Triumph Kitchen. Triumph Kitchen, 320 Third St., on the first floor of De La Ronde Hall, is a nonprofit that will train disadvantaged young men and women for jobs in the hospitality and culinary industry.
“A lot of them don’t necessarily have the financial means or the mentorship to get that first start,” Wadsworth said during the meeting.
The plan is to teach students at Triumph Kitchen life skills, such as how to interview for jobs, write a budget and handle money, along with the basics of working in a kitchen, such as how to chop vegetables and make sauces and soups, Wadsworth said.
The program will last 12 weeks, and Wadsworth and his wife, Summer, will be teachers.
The program is similar to Cafe Reconcile in New Orleans, Wadsworth said.
Cafe Reconcile has operated since 2000 and helped more than 600 young men and women get jobs in the restaurant industry.
Triumph Kitchen will take up 5,000 square feet. The centerpiece will be a 2,200-square-foot kitchen that will train students and be available for parties.
“You can have 50 or 60 people in there, interacting with the chef and the students,” he said.
Wadsworth hopes to open Triumph Kitchen in January.
Wadsworth, a Lafayette native, left Restaurant IPO last month, but is still involved with development activities at the restaurant.
He was a finalist for a spot on “Top Chef New Orleans,” which is now airing on Bravo.
“I want to get Baton Rouge on the map culinary-wise,” he said. “There are some amazing chefs and restaurants in this town.”
In other news:
DDD BUDGET: The 2014 budget for the DDD was introduced.
The budget anticipates spending $621,570, slightly more than the $620,070 budgeted for 2013.
That budget figure does not include a $274,920 fund balance that is being carried forward into the upcoming year, said David Rhorer, executive director.
BIKE RACKS: Commissioners also heard plans to install about 100 bike racks downtown early next year. Gabe Vicknair, assistant executive director for the DDD, said the Capital Region Planning Commission received a grant from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for travel demand management, which will pay for the racks. The CRPC wants the DDD to choose the sites.
“We’re mapping everything out and CRPC will give us final approval,” Vicknair said. “A lot of the racks will be along Third Street.”
Vicknair said many of the park benches on Third Street are not being used, and the plan is to rethink the area, with more tables for outdoor dining and bike racks.
CRPC said there will be between $80,000 and $100,000 in grant funds to spend on bike racks.
SMART GROWTH SUMMIT: The DDD heard about the Center for Planning Excellence’s upcoming 8th annual Smart Growth Summit, which will be held Nov. 18-20 in the Manship Theatre at the Shaw Center for the Arts. Andres Duany, who led development of the downtown master plan about 15 years ago, will be one of the key speakers, along with Victor Dover, a leading expert on urban planning and sustainable development.
For more information, or to register, go to http:// www.summit.cpex.org/.