Shovel Ready Apprentice Program Teaches Culinary Skills


(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The Well has reopened its doors to welcome new food vendors for the 2023 season, including the launch of a new program, Shovel Ready.

This new program offers adults real-world cooking experiences while earning rewards for communities in Southern Colorado.

“This is like a starter program for Pikes Peak employees, a training ground for young chefs and the general public who want to enter the culinary field,” said Ascent Restaurant Group. said chef and president Jay Gust.

The program currently has seven students working on menu items both at the order counter and in the kitchen.

Shovel Ready counter in The Well

Haley Jordan is one of the students in the program and has just completed her first week.

“I was looking for new opportunities in terms of work,” Jordan said. “So I put myself out there and I ended up this way, so I was really happy with it.”

Jordan previously worked in the fast food industry, where she said she learned many real-world skills, but her new job at Shovel Ready is her challenge to become a better chef. .

“I did like an internship a few months ago. But this is definitely different from what I’ve been doing,” Jordan said. “I’ve never actually worked in a real kitchen like this before, so it’s a new experience and I love it.”

Kate Doncilovic is Shovel Ready’s lead instructor, helping teach students basic skills in the hospitality industry.

“We want to give them good habits and a good foundation, so that when they are out in the city they will be good workers, keep up, and really appreciate the new items they are given. You can get used to it,” Donsilovic said. “And the day-to-day thing is to make sure the food is going out and the quality is there, and we’re teaching them as we go along.”

One of the chefs seasoned the fries before serving them.

Visit The Well’s Shovel Ready counter to purchase a wide variety of meals, including open-faced sandwiches, smashburgers, fries, and soups.

“Well, now we offer smoked rods, open-faced and Scandinavian sandwiches,” says Doncilovic. “But we also serve smashburgers, which are probably the most popular right now. Vic’s is great with the addition of cured salmon, and Lyle Hammer is probably my other favorite of his.” ”

smash burger i made on wednesday afternoon

When it came to the most challenging diet, Jordan said it was smoked rods.

“But open sandwiches are pretty hard for me just because I’ve never been a super kind of presentation person,” Jordan said. They’re mostly presentations because you don’t actually cook anything.”

Gust, who works in the hospitality industry in Colorado Springs, hopes the program will help bring new talent into the workforce.

“So I entered the world of hospitality and cooking when I was 13 and never left,” said Gast. “And it’s always great to actually see that young person engaged and being the next … entrepreneur and the next restaurateur. increase.”

The program rotates every 6 weeks to attract more students to the program. Apprentices gain experience working lunch and dinner shifts at The Well.

“I love everyone I work with now,” Jordan said. “We all have different ages and experiences, but I think we can all work together and do well, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”

If you are interested in applying for a new culinary programme, you can find application information online.

Program students also participate in catered events at the City Auditorium.

“This is a starter workforce program that will also apply to the City Auditorium. ‘ said Gust. He said.

A few gathered for lunch inside The Well on Wednesday afternoon

The goal after the program is to pair students with independent restaurants that need staff.

“I want to eventually become a private chef, so I think this will prepare me for the culinary world,” Jordan said. “And I think this will really help me get there.” ”

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