Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dinner and Graduation at FareStart

9/24/15 ink, colored pencils
Seattle’s FareStart program has a worthwhile mission: Give life skills and training in the food service industry to homeless and other disadvantaged people so that they can get jobs and become self-sufficient. Although I’d known about the program for a long time and had heard that the meals they serve are delicious, I’d never eaten in the organization’s restaurant.

Every Thursday night a local guest chef takes the lead in creating a menu that the FareStart students prepare. (They also serve lunch in the restaurant every weekday and prepare lots of meals for homeless people.) Last Thursday my friend Kathleen invited several friends to her birthday party at FareStart, so it was my opportunity to finally give the place a try. Chef Holly Smith of Café Juanita fed us a spectacular meal (heirloom tomato soup, polenta with chanterelles and green beans, and vanilla panna cotta for dessert! Most of the ingredients are donated by local farmers and businesses). As part of the evening, the current graduates of the 16-week program are honored in front of their peers, the volunteer staff and all of us diners.

The graduation ceremony lasted all of about 10 minutes, so I didn’t have much time, but I wanted to sketch Andrew, one of the two students graduating that night. (His peers were all stacked up behind him on the stairway  an unusual and challenging perspective!) He talked about his personal struggles and how he almost gave up on the program, but now he feels confident that he can be successful doing whatever he chooses.

All proceeds from meals served at the FareStart restaurant go back into the program to support job training and placement. 

FareStart Restaurant
From the tall street-side windows, you can
get a full view of the busy kitchen. I wanted
to sketch this view, but I was hungry, and
dinner was still ahead!

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