Originally from Haiti, Sofi left her home in pursuit of opportunity. She knew she had a deep passion for food and cooking. If she was given a chance to succeed, she knew she would take it. She and her husband moved to Orlando where he quickly found work as a dishwasher and she began working part-time at a theme park restaurant. The move proved to be an instant improvement for themselves and their children, especially their youngest son, who has sickle cell anemia.
"Our health, our diet, our outlook, everything is better in Orlando," explains Sofi.
Never one to settle, Sofi kept looking for her dream job. She learned about Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program at a job fair and knew this was the opportunity she had been searching for.
The Program provides economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry. Over the course of 16 weeks, Sofi built on her experience from the theme park kitchen to soak up as much knowledge as she could. She honed her knife skills, learned cuisines from around the world and practiced new techniques, like fruit carving.
"I learned that there is always more to learn," said Sofi. "You might think you know how to execute a recipe, but every chef is different. I learned to listen first and act second."
Today, Sofi is working as a line cook at Universal Orlando Resort. She credits life skills, especially budgeting, healthy eating and communication, as some of the keys to her success after graduation. She and her husband recently became homeowners, making their American Dream a reality.
"This program has been a catalyst for the well-being of my family," said Sofi. "I feel like I can do anything. Thank you."