The restaurant business is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. It is estimated that by 2028, there will be almost two million new jobs in the industry. Vet2Chef, a program that trains veterans to become cooks, is looking to prepare former members of our military to fill these positions.
Jim Nugent is a Vet2Chef graduate and current prep cook at Gecko’s Grill & Pub. Jim served in the Army for three years, but after being discharged he felt lost and struggled to find good, steady employment. He was living on the streets prior to enrolling in Vet2Chef. Now, as a prep cook, he earns a livable wage and is responsible for the majority of the preparation of dishes in the restaurant — this includes chopping vegetables, grinding meat, and making sauces, among other duties.
Vet2Chef was founded by Bryan Jacobs, who created the program as part of the Vets2Success program that provides on-the-job training to help reintegrate veterans into civilian life. Vet2Chef teaches vets how to work in a professional kitchen. But Vet2Chef doesn’t just give them the skills for a new job: it also provides veterans with the organization and camaraderie that come with a new community and a new sense of purpose for their life outside of the military.
The median salary for a prep cook is a little over $26,000, and training programs like Vet2Chef are the perfect way to become qualified for this position. With projected job growth of 21.9 percent by 2028 and the ability to work in all 50 states, now is the perfect time to pursue a career in the kitchen.