Program Cooks-Up Confidence for Troubled Nashville Youth
Nashville, Tenn. — Centerstone, Middle Tennessee’s leading provider of mental health services, has named Willie Jemison program coordinator and chef trainer at the Wallace Academy Community Kitchen, a food rescue and chef training program designed to teach vocational skills to youth with emotional and behavioral problems.
The chef training program, which was established in 2000, helps young adults ages 16 to 18 by providing valuable job training, life skills and career placement services. The program also collaborates with Second Harvest Food Bank and Nashville’s Table to offer free meals to the hungry, homeless and impoverished individuals and families in Nashville.
“Willie’s culinary experience coupled with his ability to relate to young people will benefit the Community Kitchen program greatly,” said Gino DeSalvatore, director of residential and academy services for Centerstone. “We see this program as a door to the future – a way to use food as a tool to enrich lives and provide hope to the teenagers we serve. We are very fortunate to have a person like Willie to lead these young adults and positively impact their lives.”
As coordinator, Jemison will oversee the entire Community Kitchen program, which currently serves 65 adolescent boys and girls, 12 to 18 years of age. He will teach these individuals a range of culinary subjects, from safety and sanitation to preparation and presentation, and will assist them with certification and job placement. Jemison will also manage the distribution of food to Nashville’s Table and Second Harvest Food Bank.
Jemison has 20 years of experience in the food service industry. Previously, he served as the assistant chef at the Wallace Academy Community Kitchen. Prior to joining Centerstone, Jemison was a chef at the Bell Meade Country Club. He is a member of the American Culinary Federation and the American Association of Culinary Professionals. Jemison also spent one year volunteering with the Metropolitan school system assisting students in their culinary classes. He holds a degree in Culinary Arts from Nashville State Technical Community College.