JVL’s Bronx campus, in the historic Bank Note Building, is located in the midst of the poorest congressional district in the country where half the population lives below the poverty line. Approximately three million New Yorkers live in communities without enough access supermarkets – “food deserts”- according to a 2008 study conducted by the New York Department of City Planning.
Despite such a challenging environment, JVL’s Culinary Internship program, at its Bronx campus, has proven not only to be highly successful at teaching its students how to work interactively while simultaneously learning employability skills in the kitchen setting, but also is a major reason students are motivated to remain in school. For example, JVL’s students learn much more than cooking and the skills needed to work in a restaurant. The Culinary Program Curriculum satisfies industry standards in nutrition, hygiene, safety, kitchen inventory, and budgeting while also building business skills, character and good work habits.
The students have the opportunity to practice these skills at the “Wildcat Café” a full restaurant-style kitchen and dining area. They work together to prepare a delicious cuisine that is enjoyed by Wildcat students and staff, community members and by the employees of the businesses housed in the Bank Note Building. The aspiring chefs also prepare meals for catered events and annually work side by side with top chefs at the Hotel Pierre at a well-attended gala.
Many of JVL’s students, having won city-wide culinary school competitions, not surprisingly, now work in the industry.