Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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75 expectation of what's to come, so with this second group [of students attending BCCC], we are calibrating that reality from day one." Finding the right program candidates takes substantial effort—in- terviews with culinary staff, educational staff, and social work staff, are just the beginning. BCCC's participants are paid an hourly wage as part of the program, and while the training period is designed to be supportive, participants are still required to do the work. "One of the hardest questions we have to press candidates on is to really get them to answer, 'Why are you here?'" says Phillip. According to Omar Maagaard of Brownsville Roasters, the compa- ny that provides coffee to the BCCC and is connected to the Melting Pot Foundation through Danish restaurateur Claus Meyer's involve- ment in both, participants are there because they want to grow. "My hope is to have some participants doing some roasting work or into the coffee shop in the Great Northern Food Hall [inside Grand Central Station]," says Omar. "We already had a few participants in the Great Northern as an internship. They have this drive that is so cool—to see how much they actually want it and it's not just because it's a paid internship." Omar recognized this initiative through interns' willingness to spend days restocking—a fairly mundane task, but one that they rec- ognized would help familiarize them with the menu, and better equip them for the work of serving patrons in the pavilion. Brownsville Roasters donates 25 percent of wholesale profi ts to BCCC, but the connection is more about demonstrating the diversity of applications for culinary training, from chef to coffee roaster. A full-service coffee bar is also part of BCCC's on-site restaurant. Work- ing as a line cook might be the perfect fi t for some, but a career as a barista might be someone else's nascent dream come true—it's hard to know without having the chance to try them both. Creating space for determining what doesn't work is one of the most valuable luxuries that education, training, and workplace-preparation programs can provide. In a rigid employment environment, learning what doesn't work often results in losing a job. But in a climate like the one Star- bucks' Cliff Burrows described, one with a little slack and the ability to think of team members more like family and less like shift-fi llers, there's room to have a conversation about which role might work best, and to switch gears if it is not going well. Flexibility is an invaluable component of training programs aligned with employment rather than institutions. Formalized education and training programs are usually not agile enough to respond to the real-time needs of their students. Anyone with experience in formal education knows that it takes excessive bureaucracy to make any cur- ricular change, whereas Birch and BCCC can tweak their program- ming for each incoming group of participants. Maybe you had supportive parents growing up, and/or coaches or teachers guiding you as you tentatively worked out your path, and if so, that's incredible—you're lucky. An enormous number of teens and young adults entering the workforce didn't have that leadership, and for many of them, school wasn't just a bad experience, but the act of learning itself might have been threatening. In so many ways, special- ty coffee is one of the most diverse, inclusive, and nurturing divisions of the foodservice and hospitality industries. The act of mentorship will come naturally to many of those working in coffee because our community embraces education to such an extensive degree. That doesn't mean it's an easy road, but it's possible, and potentially wildly benefi cial to all involved. SUM EED FOR SUMMER E V E RY T H I N G YOU NEED FO SUM E V Y Cold drink tutorials & new summer products are here to help you beat the heat 1-866-776-5288

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