Culinary Program

ProjectFREE provides services in an environment filled with creativity, arts, academics, music, fitness, care and respect.

“ProjectFREE” is an absolutely wonderful organization that covers many selections for their students… music, theater, culinary arts, painting, pottery wheel, and much more. Each curriculum taught by professionals with lifetime experience.” — Lynn DiVenuti, Culinary Program Director

Project Free Life-Skills Culinary Program teaches our students to work in a homestyle kitchen to learn the necessary cooking skills needed for independent living or progression into a Catering Program. Participants in the Life-Skills Culinary Program will participate in the planning and preparation of several internal catering events throughout the year. The Life-Skills Culinary Program curriculum is taught using a five-block system:

Safety and Sanitation (Block One)
Coursework includes lessons on personal hygiene, proper kitchen attire, proper usage of equipment, kitchen safety and sanitation, and food safety. During this block participants obtain a food handlers card.

Plan Healthy Food Choices (Block Two)
Coursework includes lessons on the food groups, teaching a variety of different foods and special eating plans, how to create and use shopping lists, how to use recipes and food labels, and how to reduce caloric intake in meals and snacks.

Kitchen Discovery (Block Three)
Coursework includes lessons on how to organize kitchen tools and equipment, how to read and use a recipe, appropriate knife selection and handling, and how to use kitchen equipment.

Customer Service (Block Four)
Coursework includes the importance of customer service, how to greet a customer, how to properly set and clear a table, how to pour liquids at a table, identifying different meal services and proper meal time behaviors.

Technique and Timing Skills (Block Five)
Coursework includes hands-on lessons learning how to bake, braise, grill, poach, stew, roast, and sauté meals.

The Catering Program provides group supported employment job training opportunities which include internal catering requests made through the program. Participants also receive support and assistance to procure food-service employment external to Project Free Culinary Program.

The Project Free Culinary Curriculum includes:
Restaurant Positions Members select one of five restaurant positions (Host, Server Assistant, Front Wait (Server), Prep Cook/Dishwasher, and Cook)

Time Studies Participants conduct bi-annual time studies based on their chosen job position to measure their individual progress. Wage increases are calculated based on individual time studies.

Catering Jobs Participants actively participate in the preparation for regular weekly catering events, public and private events as they are booked through the Project Free Catering Program, and internal events as they are scheduled throughout the year.

Additional day-to-day operations:

  • Lunch Preparation: All Group Supported Employment Participants assist in the daily preparation and delivery of our lunch service
  • Proprietary Preparation: Participants prepare, inventory, and deliver proprietary items to local businesses that resell One Step Beyond Proprietary Products.
  • Regular Catering: Participants prepare and deliver regular weekly caterings for local service organizations and businesses that utilize our Catering Services.

Chef Lynn DiVenuti- Instructor

ProjectFREE’s ADT programs are available for both Wavier + Non Wavier Clients.  

ProjectFREE Adult Day Training Program ~ Monday – Friday,  9am – 3pm.

2026 51st Street S, Gulfport FL, 33707 ~ (727) 314-2660

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