November 10, 2013
A local veteran is giving back to his community thanks in part to his restaurant.
Ralph Brown has been in the food industry for most of his life and has worked as a chef at the University of Virginia, the DoubleTree Hotel and the Marriott in Charlottesville. After years of cooking, he developed carpal tunnel syndrome.
Now, he uses his talents to teach.
“The best way to become a chef in the industry is to work as an apprentice under someone else,” says Brown.
Brown owns the RBC Institute that provides a 12-week job training program for ex-felons, people in rehab services and veterans.
“Since I am a certified chef in the American Culinary Federation and an instructor for the National Restaurant Association, it's the best of both worlds for them,” says Brown. “They can get a job, they can work under a certified chef and they go away with some credentials and some experience.”
Brown also owns the Cherry Avenue Grill, and allows his students to get real hands-on experience with customers.
“You can just start from where you are, you don't have to have restaurant training, but he'll teach you,” says Denise Arnold, a student at the RBC Institute.
Arnold has been a student for more than a month and works as a wait staff trainee in the program.
“I fell into it here and I like it. I'm learning a lot from Chef.”
Brown said he believes in helping people get back on their feet, no matter the situation, and he is already having a positive impact on Cherry Avenue.
“It really helps this whole area of Cherry Avenue, when there's this kind of a school going on for chefs or people who want to be in food handling,” says Charles Almy, a customer at the Cherry Avenue Grill.
Brown says he enjoys helping people get back on their feet.
“It's about job training, so it's not just getting them trained, but getting them placed in jobs.”
Click on the link below to get more information about the RBC Institute and the work Brown is doing in the Charlottesville community.